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Editor, The Konformist
Steamshovelpress.com is back! New web content! New book product! New conference information! PLUS: a new, daily, twitterish quip: "Parapolitics Offhand!"
Now available on CD and through US Mail only: Popular Parapolitics, 219 pages, illustrated, of comentary on the nexus of parapolitics and popular culture. $15 post paid from Kenn Thomas, POB 210553, St. Louis, MO 63121.
Awesome Quote: Stephen Colbert
"Find someone whose name can be merged with yours to form a marketable nickname, just like Brangelina, Bennifer 2, or... Filliam H. Muffman."
When asked if abortion should be legal in the case of rape, GOP Congressman Todd Akin replied:
"Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."
35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors:
Blues legend Buddy Guy
Ballerina Natalia Makarova
'Dark Knight' Trilogy: Batman's Greatest Gadgets
Capes designed for base-jumping and guns built for climbing are just some of the incredible inventions in the Caped Crusader's arsenal.
Jul 31 2012
Where does Batman get all of those wonderful toys? In the "Dark Knight" trilogy, they come from a winning combination of Bruce Wayne's extraordinary wealth, Lucius Fox's Applied Sciences division, and Christopher Nolan's bountiful imagination. The director's just-concluded Batman trilogy always strived for real-world explanations for the Caped Crusader's decidedly larger-than-life arsenal, yielding numerous unforgettable gadgets along the way.
With "The Dark Knight Rises" now in the books, here's a look at six of our favorite Batman gadgets from the Nolan era.
Magnetic Grapple Gun
Ah, the grapple gun. A magnetic, gas-powered handheld "firearm" in Nolan's trilogy, this gadget has been a mainstay across all of the iterations of Batman. It's simple but effective, allowing Bruce an easy exit whenever he needs it and make no mistake, he needs it quite often.
A little firepower can go a long way. Just ask the Batman, who uses small explosives to get get himself out of almost any jam. Whether its simply a means of distracting bad guys or used to create new exits and entrances where they didn't exist previously, bombs are a Batman's best friend. Our favorite of the Caped Crusader's explosive devices: the sticky-bomb gun, which he uses in Hong Kong during his mission to capture Mr. Lau.
When something makes Lucius Fox morally uncomfortable, you know you've got a powerful item on your hands. The technology that used all of Gotham's residents' cell devices to power sonar mapping proved invaluable for taking the Joker down as well as Mr. Lau earlier in the film yielding two epic fight scenes in the process. Bruce deleted the tech as a way of proving his loyalty to Lucius, but we bet he regretted that decision deeply the moment Bane set foot in Gotham.
Speaking of sonar, any device that can bring an army of bats to your location is a pretty useful tool to have, especially when all you do is run around at night fighting crime dressed as a bat. Only seen once in "Batman Begins," this gadget gave Bruce all the cover he needed to make a fast escape with an ailing Rachel Dawes at his side.
Memory Fiber Cape
Base-jumping isn't the most common pastime in Gotham City, but it's essential to Mr. Wayne's up-all-night extracurricular hobby. The cape was always a flashy accessory in the Batman mythos, but in Nolan's trilogy, it was an essential tool that allowed Bruce to glide from point A to point B and beyond.
A Trio of Rides
It's almost unfair to list these as part of Bruce's collection of gadgets. They're so much more than that. With the Tumbler, Bat-pod and The Bat at his side, there's no terrain too rough to traverse, no corner of Gotham too out of reach. With these vehicles at his disposal, Batman has saved the day more times than anyone can reasonably count.
Sight & Sound's 2012 Poll
Critics' Top 10
1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
The Directors' Top 10
1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
7. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)
Princeton Review's Top 20 Party & Sober Schools
1. West Virginia University, Morgantown
2. University of Iowa, Iowa City
3. Ohio University, Athens
4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
5. University of Georgia, Athens
6. University of Florida, Gainesville
7. University of California-Santa Barbara
8. Florida State University, Tallahassee
9. Miami University of Ohio, Oxford
10. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
11. Penn State University, University Park, Pa.
12. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
13. University of Wisconsin-Madison
14. University of Mississippi
15. University of Texas-Austin
16. University of Maryland, College Park
17. University of South Carolina, Columbia
18. James Madison University, Harrisonburg Va.
19. University of Maine, Orono
20. University of Tennessee, Knoxville
STONE-COLD SOBER SCHOOLS
1. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
2. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.
3. U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
4. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.
5. Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.
6. U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
7. City University of New York-Brooklyn College
8. Wesleyan College, Macon, Ga.
9. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.
10. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.
11. City University of New York-City College
12. City University of New York-Queens-Hunter College, Flushing, N.Y.
13. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass.
14. Agnes Scott College, Atlanta-Decatur, Ga.
15. Simmons College, Boston
16. U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
17. Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.
18. Becker College, Worcester, Mass.
19. Cooper Union for the Advancement of New York
20. California State University-Stanislaus, Turlock, Calif.
Secrets of the Aura
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The idea behind our company is to provide people world wide with the best survival gear available, and to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be well prepared for any emergency or adventure.
In pursuit of this ambition we've taken three innovative product lines and put them on the same site so you can shop, research, review, purchase and build a survival kit unlike any other. Based on fundamental needs required for a perilous situation, Buy Emergency Foods offers innovative water filter bottles from Seychelle, advanced portable solar power solutions from Goal Zero, and gourmet emergency food and outdoor meals from Legacy Premium Food Storage...
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Konformist Book Klub
The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross: A study of the nature and origins of Christianity within the fertility cults of the ancient Near East
John M. Allegro
Price: $19.17 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.
You Save: $4.83 (20%)
Publication Date: November 12, 2009 | ISBN-10: 0982556276 | ISBN-13: 978-0982556276 | Edition: Anniversary
Where did God come from? What do the bible stories really tell us? Who or what was Jesus Christ? This book challenges everything we think we know about the nature of religion. The ancient fertility cult at the heart of Christianity The living power of cultic rites and symbols The sacred mushroom as the emblem and embodiment of divinity The secret meaning of biblical myths The language of religion that links us to our ancestors The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross sets out John Allegro's quest through a family tree of languages to find the truth about where Christianity came from.
10 of America's best lake vacations
Lake Superior: Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Best for fishing: Lake Superior is so vast it could easily hold all of the water from all of the other Great Lakes. That means there's plenty of room for fish to thrive: salmon, trout, walleye, smelt, whitefish, herring, northern pike, smallmouth bass and many other game species can be caught in abundance along the lake's tristate shores. No matter what time of year, some sort of fishing is in season; Duluth (MN) and Bayfield (WI) are among the charter hubs.
Stay: Lutsen Resort, MN; lutsenresort.com.
Play: Duluth Charter Fishing Captains; fishduluth.com.
Crater Lake: Oregon
Best for scuba diving: Other lakes have shipwrecks or sunken towns, but only Crater Lake offers the bragging rights of diving in a flooded volcano that also happens to be the deepest lake in the U.S. (and ninth deepest in the world). Without a deep-sea submersible you won't be able to reach the absolute bottom (1,943 feet). But there's plenty to explore in the crystal-clear shallows: lava formations, wildlife (trout and salmon), and underwater moss meadows.
The catch is that you have to schlep your own scuba equipment up and down the Cleetwood Cove Trail -- 700 vertical feet. If that's not your idea of vacation, try the Wizard Island boat cruises around the crater's island on that clear, calm blue water.
Stay: Crater Lake Lodge; craterlakelodges.com.
Play: Wizard Island Boats; (888) 774-2728.
Lake Winnebago: Wisconsin
Best for windsurfing: Steady wind and easy launch make Winnebago the lake of choice for Wisconsin windsurfers and kite surfers -- especially in summer, when the shallow, sandy bottom creates water temperatures that are downright tropical (75-85ºF). The annual Wind Power Championships in September brings the nation's top wind-sport racers to Winnebago to face gusts of up to 40 mph. In winter, the lake converts to sail-powered ice racing.
Stay: Plaza Hotel (Fond du Lac); ramadafdl.com.
Play: Wind Power Windsurfing & Kiting Center; windpowerwindsurfing.com.
Lake Kabetogama: Minnesota
Best for kayak or canoe camping: Paddle along the same routes as early French trappers, traders and explorers on Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota. Part of the warren of waterways that make up Voyageurs National Park, the lake offers more than two dozen wilderness campsites that can be reached only by boat, including gorgeous spots along Lost Bay and among the Chief Wooden Frog Islands. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the shore, from bear and bald eagles to otters, wolves and moose.
Stay: Northern Lights Resort; nlro.com.
Play: Anderson's Canoe Outfitters, which offers shuttle service between Crane and Kabetogama lakes and customizable canoe trips; anderson-outfitters.com/index.php.
Lake Clark: Alaska
Best for wilderness adventure: The only way to reach super-secluded Lake Clark is trekking overland through the Alaska bush, getting dragged by a dogsled team or flying in by a floatplane. Flanked by snowcapped peaks, thick boreal forest and whitewater rivers, the 50-mile-long lake is quintessential Alaska.
Fishing, kayaking and wildlife-watching are the main aquatic activities, while the lakeshore lends itself to weeklong hikes and backwoods camping. Tiny Port Alsworth (pop. 159) offers a visitor center, kayak rental, guide services and outfitters, post office and lodging. nps.gov/lacl/
Stay: Island Lodge, Lake Clark; islandlodge.com.
Play: Lake Clark Air, Port Alsworth; lakeclarkair.com.
Chain of Lakes: Florida
Best for waterskiing: Sixteen lakes form a deep-blue chain around the west side of Winter Haven, the Water Skiing Capital of the World. The craze started in 1936 with the debut of Cypress Garden, the nation's first aquatic theme park, and its celebrated water-ski shows.
"If it's being done on the water, chances are somebody tried it in Winter Haven first," wrote Waterski magazine's Tony Smith. Try barefoot waterskiing, for instance, taught by the Footer's Edge Training Center, one of half a dozen local waterski and wakeboard schools.
Stay: The Stanford Inn, Bartow; thestanfordinn.com.
Play: Lucky Lowe Ski School; luckylowe.com.
Lake Tahoe: California/Nevada
Best for snow sports: High-altitude Tahoe (6,225 feet) is nirvana for skiing, snowboarding and other cold-weather sports. Seven major winter resorts ring the shore, including Squaw Valley, where the 1960 Winter Olympics took place. Hike along snowy forest trails, snuggle up beside a fire in a lakeshore café or ride the Sky Express to the top of Heavenly's highest peak for a snow-mantled panorama of the entire lake basin. Or go now, and enjoy the striking scenery without the snow.
Stay: The Shore House; shorehouselaketahoe.com.
Play: Heavenly Ski Resort; skiheavenly.com.
Lake Michigan: Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois
Best for beaches: With more than 1,600 miles of shoreline, Lake Michigan offers more beaches than any other American lake. But it's not just quantity: there's a beach for nearly every taste.
The big-city strands that front Chicago, the wild rolling dunes of northern Indiana, the pastoral shores of Wisconsin's Door Peninsula and the carnival-like atmosphere along the Traverse City Boardwalk offer totally different sun-and-sand experiences on the same lake. You'll pass that boardwalk on the scenic drive from Bay Harbor to Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Stay: The Inn at Bay Harbor; innatbayharbor.com
Play: Sleeping Bear Dunes; nps.gov/slbe/.
Finger Lakes: New York
Best for wine tastings: With more than a hundred vintners, the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York is the prime wine region of the Eastern U.S. The largest concentration of tasting rooms is along Highway 414 on the east side of Lake Seneca. Wineries with spectacular waterfront locations include Belhurst Estate in Geneva and Thirsty Owl in Ovid. Riesling is the most popular plonk, but the lakes region also produces fine Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer.
Stay: Belhurst Castle; belhurst.com.
Play: Thirsty Owl Winery; thirstyowl.com/.
Lake Powell: Utah/Arizona
Best for desert houseboating: From the original "Planet of the Apes" to "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," more than three dozen movies have been filmed in and around drop-dead-gorgeous Lake Powell. Spin your own high-adventure tale on a houseboat cruise through the red-rock desert wilderness.
Created by Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, the vast lake stretches for nearly 200 miles into uninhabited southern Utah and includes more than 80 side canyons where yours will often be the only boat. nps.gov/glca/
Stay: Bullfrog Marina Houseboats; lakepowell.com/houseboating.aspx.
Some songs are so closely associated with certain musicians that it's hard to believe they weren't the first to perform them.
Best-Known Version: Aretha Franklin
Original artist: It's an Otis Redding song. When it came out on his 1965 album Otis Blue, it wasn't a hit or even a single. Franklin covered it two years later. When he heard her version, Redding reportedly said, "That little girl stole my song." He was rightit became a #1 hit and Franklin's signature song.
"Got My Mind Set on You"
Best-Known Version: George Harrison
original artist: Harrison's 1987 comeback hit was a cover of an obscure 1960s soul song recorded by James Ray and written by Rudy Clark (who also wrote "Good Lovin'" and "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody"). Harrison had wanted to do the song ever since he was with the Beatleshe thought it was well written, but badly performed on Ray's recording. (He especially disliked the "horrible screechy women's voices singing those backup parts.")
"Killing Me Softly With His Song"
Best-Known Version: Roberta Flack
original artist: In 1971 Los Angeles-based singer Lori Lieberman saw Don?McLean perform "American Pie" and was so moved by his concert that she wrote a poem called "Killing Me Softly with His Blues." Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel later wrote music for it, changing "blues" to "song," and Lieberman recorded itbut it went nowhere. Flack read an article about Lieberman on an in-flight magazine, thought the title of the song was great, and later, upon hearing it, decided to record it herself.
Best-Known Version: Soft Cell
original artist: It's arguably the definitive 1980s synth-pop song, but Ed Cobb of the Four Preps wrote it in 1964 as a ballad for a little-known soul singer named Gloria Jones.
"Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"
Best-Known Version: Three Dog Night
original artist: Randy Newman wrote it, and Eric Burden and the Animals first recorded it in 1967. Newman later included the song on his 1970 album, 12 Songs, which didn't receive much attention at the time. But later that year, the song became a #1 hit for Three Dog Night, who transformed Newman's slow, funk-influenced tune into a revved-up rock song.
"Greatest Love of All"
Best-Known Version: Whitney Houston
original artist: Though it's one of Houston's best-known songs (and widely regarded as one of the sappiest ever written), it was first sung by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali movie The Greatest. So is the song about Ali? Nolyricist Linda Creed actually wrote it about battling breast cancer, which would later claim her life at age 37.
"Don't Know Much"
Best-Known Version: Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
original artist: The song was cowritten and performed in 1980 by Barry Mann, who wrote dozens of hit songs in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, and is best known for his 1961 hit recording of "Who Put the Bomp?" Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers and Bette Midler both recorded "Don't Know Much," but it wasn't a hit until the Ronstadt/Neville duet was released in 1989.
"That's What Friends are For"
Best-Known Version: Dionne Warwick and Friends
original artist: Rod Stewart. He sang the song (written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager) for the end credits of the 1982 comedy film Night Shift. That version went largely unnoticed, but it became a smash hit when Warwick performed it with Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder in 1986 to raise money for AIDS research.
Originally published in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music". Translated from original text in English. Uncle John's Bathroom Reader books are currently printed in English only.