Monday, August 27, 2012

Sedum multiceps

Friday, August 24, 2012

Science of Discworld audiobook

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

TV Tropes

Black Comedy

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Approximately less than half a minute from the beginning, somebody is hanging from a tree by the neck. Hilarity Ensues.

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, both due to the bizarreness of the setting; the main characters ship corpses around for a living in return for being allowed to loot the corpse's material possessions (and the occasional karmic payoff) by the souls of the deceased, but also from the way they deal with said job.

Welcome to the NHK certainly was advertised as this and generally works well like this, although it works better as a comedy to some than to others.

 Detroit Metal City at its best/worst.

Being There (and its source novella) starts with the death of an old businessman and the expulsion of his mentally challenged gardener into an outside world he's never seen beyond its presentation on TV. The story that ensues has him rise to considerable power solely because most of the people he encounters don't realize he's an idiot and interpret his comments about gardening as metaphors. And there's more death to come as he becomes the confidante of a dying billionaire... Distressing on the surface, extremely funny and touching in its execution.

Terry Gilliam's Brazil lives this trope, unless you're watching the "Love Conquers All" edit

Burke and Hare, a comedy that is very loosely based on the real-life murderers.

Dr. Strangelove (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb). Also a touch of Gallows Humor on the director's part, since it was made at a time when nuclear war was a very real possibility. The filmmakers originally started to it a serious film about an accidental nuclear war, but they didn't want to make it seem like they were copying Failsafe and decided to change it to a comedy. Notably, they didn't tell Slim Pickins, so his performance was completely straight.

 Fight Club is completely built on this, to the point that a lot of people don't even realize it's intended as a comedy. Most notable is the line "I haven't been fucked like that since grade school" (the film version of the below book line).

 Four Lions, a comedy involving Jihadist suicide bombers.

 Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America is built on this trope "up to eleven" to the point it "crosses the line back and forth". It's worth noting that it's "played for laughs"

Paddy Chayevski's 1970 film The Hospital has doctors dying from unusual causes, while at the same time the Chief of Surgery (George C. Scott) is so despondent over the meaninglessness of life, as well as being impotent, he's trying to kill himself, until he rapes the daughter of a patient at which point he realizes he does have a reason to live! 

In Bruges In a film about two hitmen on the run after one of them botched a hit by shooting an innocent child, who spends his time drinking and contemplating suicide the only humour you'd expect to find is the black kind.

 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

 Man Bites Dog. How black? Like goth panthers in a coal mine.

 Network presents Howard Beale's descent into insanity and assassination at the order of his boss as a long joke with a killer punchline.

  • Shallow Grave, the breakout film for a young Ewan McGregor, is a British black comedy about three roommates who put out a classified ad for a fourth person to fill in an empty spot in their flat. They heckle most of the applicants, until finding someone they all agree would make a fine roommate. Or so they think... Turns out he's a drug runner for the mafia and, shortly after he moves in, the three find him dead in his room of a drug overdose, with a large briefcase full of money lying next to him. They make the decision to not report the crime, dismember the body, and keep the money for themselves. Hilarity (and psychopathy) ensue. 
 The Luis Buñuel 1930 classic "L' Âge d'or", The Golden Age has got lots of these jokes (and it's the most hilarious film ever), one of the main character's is a man working for a good will mission organisation, and is on a mission to spread happiness in the world. He randomly attack people, he kicks a blind man and Kick the Dog more than once. One scene also includes a man that shoot an annoying kid with a rifle.
  • This is far Older Than They Think in film — some of the very earliest silent comedies feature prop babies getting trampled, thrown out windows and hit by trains (carried over from vaudeville, where everybody got hurt).  
 Happiness (1998) is this through and through. Particularly with it's portrayal of pedophilia and what a Dysfunction Junction it all is.

 Catch-22 is one of the best examples, and the Trope Namer from a review of it that coined the term.

 Candide, by Voltaire.

 In John Gardner's book Grendel, the title character's philosophical musings as he tears Danes to shreds just for the lulz are about as black as black comedy gets.

 Tik-Tok by John Sladek (not the one from the Land of Oz).

 Any of Derek Robinson's novels. The war novels are more black than comedy, but the spy novels are more comedy than black (but still pretty black).

 Everything Bret Easton Ellis writes falls under this trope.

 Ephraim Kishon has died and sometimes even gone to hell at the end of several of his short stories. It didn't exactly last.

 A Modest Proposal.

 There's a book called The Bunny Suicides and a sequal Return of the Bunny Suicides. It's exactly what it seems, usually having Shout Out to other things (Terminator, Aliens, etc.). And good lord is it hilarious.

 Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are filled with grim jokes about injury and death. For example, this passage from the first chapter of the first book:
  • "Well!" thought Alice to herself. "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!" (Which was very likely true.) 

Real Buster Sword

bellexim (19 months ago | reply)
I make these swords one at a time on a commission basis. The one in the picture is gone. sold, hanging up in some dudes house. If you would like to commission this sword (or any other sword that could physically exist) then message me and we'll work something out. The one above is around US$800, depending on when you're reading this.

The Lightning-rod Man by Ambrose Bierce

" It was a polished copper rod, four feet long, lengthwise attached to a neat wooden staff by insertion into two glass balls of greenish glass ringed with copper bands. The metal rod terminated at the top tripod wise, in three keen tines, brightly gilt. He held the thing by the wooden part alone."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TV Tropes

The Sociopath

 Johan Liebert, the eponymous Monster. The title suits him

Dilandau Albatou from Vision of Escaflowne, although he was more psychotic than sociopathic

 In the FMA manga and Brotherhood anime, Envy, Pride, Shou Tucker, and Kimblee are this as well. This version of Kimblee is a particularly chilling example of high-functioning sociopathy, being an extremely intelligent, extremely self-aware psychopath in the vein of Hannibal Lecter, masking his lunacy beneath a Faux Affably Evil facade and a bizarre code of honor.

 Full Metal Panic!: Gauron is a Combat Sadomasochist and Death Seeker with a Hair-Trigger Temper, No Sense of Personal Space, No Social Skills, an utter Lack of Empathy, and an obsession with the hero that borders on the ephebophiliac.

 Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men.

 Roose Bolton from A Song of Ice and Fire is possibly one. Capable of extreme cruelty and betrayal, while never wavering from his Dissonant Serenity.

 Alex from A Clockwork Orange (both the book and the movie).

 Some interpretations of Sherlock Holmes. Another, probably much straighter example is Sherlock's Evil Counterpart Moriarty.

Though many of the supernatural creatures in The Dresden Files exhibit elements of sociopathy (notably vampires who fully embrace their predatory nature and many of the nastier Winter Court sidhe), the most obvious example is the all-too-human Nicodemus, a man so thoroughly and unapologetically (and yet often politely) evil that a Fallen Angel works with him as a genuine partner. Nick's wife Tessa and daughter Deirdre are also candidates.

 The Silence of the Lambs: Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a Serial Killer and an Evil Genius, and perhaps one of the most famous examples of the inhumanly charismatic and exceptionally intelligent "elite psychopath" popularized by Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

 Comedic Sociopathy

 Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces has a Master's degree in history and believes life peaked with medieval feudalism and has degenerated ever since. He announces this loudly while bouncing between menial jobs and managing his valve.

Carl Hiaasen's novels usually include at least one unlikely, terrible, imaginative and painfully undignified death. A man dies during liposuction when the under-qualified surgeon (and bad guy) has a breakdown; another drowns after falling into a dolphin pool while the sexually-deviant dolphin has its way with him. What makes them hilarious is the bizarre circumstances and that it's the comeuppance of one of the book's villains.

Kitsu Chiri from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei eventually got the role due to Characterization Marches On, and frequently snaps and murders (or is implied to murder) the extremely non-killable cast or attempts crazy stunts like splitting the Earth in half, taking over Sengoku-era Japan by killing everyone, or playing 'meat doll'. It gets so bad that when Chiri's attempt at 'surprising' the teacher ends up demolishing a wall and flattening all the desks in the classroom (and Ushio), everyone points out that this kind of behaviour is not very 'surprising' coming from her.
 Magnificent Bastard

 The most impressive and villainous character in Ashita no Nadja? A 13-year-old girl. Yes, a teen Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and Nadja's Forgotten Childhood Friend: Rosemary. Said character steals the spotlight brilliantly by kicking puppies so well and hard that even the local Smug Snake, who thought the kid would be an easy-to-manipulate puppet at first, in the end utterly fears them. And for all that, the punishment amounts to nothing more than a slap in her face and willingly leaving the mansion. Karma Houdini, indeed.

 Proxy One in Ergo Proxy, who is even referenced to be "the winner at the end of the world" (with good reason). Not only is he the master manipulator of nearly everything that happens in the course of the series, but he wins.

 Johan Liebert - the Monster. He manipulates everyone he encounters as they were puppets on a string and then disposes of them without a second thought, subverts every Pet the Dog moment he's given in chilling ways, and never loses that Dissonant Serenity permanently affixed to his face. The problem is, the straight treatment the series gives his activities also makes him freaking scary to behold. A perfect example of a character who manages to be both this trope and a Complete Monster.

 Miyo Takano from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni certainly counts. She masterminded the events of the first six arcs, and loves frightening people with tales of Hinamizawa's past. Definitely a Magnificent Bitch. Also manages to be COMPLETELY EVIL (but mostly because of what the orphanage leader, Nomura, and Tokyo did to her).

 Perhaps the most impressive and villainous character in Mon Colle Knights happens to be Redda, the Big Bad and final villain.

 Though possibly more of a Guile Hero, Danny Ocean from Ocean's Eleven exemplifies the protagonist angle of this trope. A persuasive, imaginative, charismatic and highly organized professional criminal with an impeccable sense of style, Danny Ocean pulls off an impressive plan; robs the central vault of three casinos and gets his ex-wife to break off her relationship with the antagonist.

 Graham Marshall (Michael Caine) in A Shock to the System. He methodically murders his bitchy wife and sleazy boss, beds his beautiful coworker, gets her to help him cover up the crimes after she finds out he did it (and drugged her to create an alibi), rubs the homicide cop's nose in it, and in the last scene takes out the chairman of the board and takes his place. And does it all with a Deadpan Snarker narration that is 200-proof Michael Caine gold.
 Harry Lime from The Third Man. "Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax—the only way you can save money nowadays." And he's played by Orson Welles.