22 December 2008

Popular South African author S.A. Partridge interviews me

S.A.Partridge reading
S.A. Partridge is a South African author. Her novel, The Goblet Club, is "a Gothic novel with distinctly South African features set in a mysterious boarding school somewhere on the South African Platteland. When Mark and his friends discover the dark secrets of St Matthews their thoughts turn to murder." The Goblet Club achieved top honours in the English category of Human & Rousseau’s I'm a Writer competition. This competition is held in conjunction with You, Huisgenoot and Drum magazines, SABC Education and Radio Sonder Grense (RSG). The Goblet Club also won the MER Youth prize at the 2008 Via Afrika awards in Cape Town.

What on heaven or earth or beyond could possibly compel an author of this mettle to interview me? I've lain awoke at night pondering such a question, and the only logical conclusion I arrived at involved both my handsomely hirsute appendage and my rugged, boyish charm. That, or my irrepressible modesty.

If you want to stalk S.A.Partridge and the fact that her initials and that of the South African Police are one and the same does not deter you either, then you can carpool with me. You will need a Groucho Marx disguise, an oversized raincoat (if you don't know the kind, don't bother applying), a case of fine red wine (if you don't know several kinds, don't bother applying), a smorgasbord of exotic cheese and a preference for the likes of Deicide, Morbid Angel, Nevermore or perhaps Le'Rue Delashay.

The Goblet Club cover

You should also do your homework by researching S.A. Partridge at the following online locations:
  1. The blog of S.A. Partridge at book.co.za

  2. The Goblet Cub Myspace page

  3. The Goblet Club on Bookfinder. No, you can't read it during stakeout. You have to pour wine, you ludicrous gimp.

S.A.Partridge: Do you have a motto?

Necro Files: "Women should be obscene and not heard" - Groucho Marx.

S.A.Partridge: I take it Groucho Marx died a single, lonely man?

Necro Files: Not quite, he was reputedly a womaniser.

S.A.Partridge: Womanisers. What do women see in them?

Necro Files: Must be the facial hair. I have this theory that bearded women are responsible for lesbianism. In the olden days, bearded women were plentiful.

S.A.Partridge: Bearded women? They were?

Necro Files: Yes. It's only after practices like the wicker man that their numbers considerably declined. Today, you can only find bearded women in Greece and Portugal, indicating that they must have fled there from the mainland. The wicker man is thus a plausible explanation.

S.A.Partridge: :o

Necro Files: So a girl sees another girl, but thinks it's a womaniser with facial hair and lesbianism blooms. Let's face it, once you snogged a girl you don't want to go back.

S.A.Partridge: It's a stretch. :/

Necro Files: Of epic Baron von Münchhausen proportions.

S.A.Partridge: Did they burn freaks in wicker men?

Necro Files: Well, wicker men were like the church's inquisition. So yes, freaks. Anybody who disagreed with the druids, anybody who were deemed unsavoury characters were burnt.

S.A.Partridge: You only really have Caesar's word for it that the wicker man ever existed.

Necro Files: And the lack of bearded women, obviously. When can we expect your next book?

S.A.Partridge: My next book is coming out in May.

Necro Files: I see. Will it also be in the teen fetish genre?

S.A.Partridge: No, I don't write teen fetish. I'm not Anne Rice.

Necro Files: Does it feature any bearded women?

S.A.Partridge: I hate you.

Charming lady. Buy the Goblet Club now!

15 December 2008

Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is the kind of snake oil that sells to those who somehow feel absolved when they share ineptitude with others. The most recent phenomenon of this rudder in the calm waters of clear thought resulted from what must be the first instance of a movie that turned into a best-selling book instead of the other way around.

Claudia Schiffer. She wants me, I can tell by the Law of Attraction
Claudia Schiffer. Come to daddy!

The Law of Attraction


In four easy steps, you can be right back where you started.
  1. Know what you want. Women, are you reading this? OK, let's put this theory to the test. I want Claudia Schiffer.

  2. Ask the universe for it. Suggest then that the waves of my thought patterns and the sound waves of my spoken voice are likely to be heard over the cosmic microwave background radation. Suggest also that these waves can travel through the theoretically empty vacuum that they would meet in space. Suggest also that Uranus won't block my signals. Suggest also that the Universe does understand English because I sure as hell am not going to Lisp the bitch. Suggest also that Hawking radiation, the music of the spheres and the noise transmitted from the earth's magnetic field (which swallows my brainwaves as soon as they leave my skull) do not prevent something as abstract as the Universe to hear about my inconsequential but by no means whimsical, unrequited affections for Claudia Schiffer. Suggest also that the Universe has the mother of all Beowulf clusters running, because surely there are hungry kids in Ethiopia, war victims in Iraq, cholera sufferers in Zimbabwe and Madonna who Universe knows needs help more than I do but because of the Law of Attraction all of us need to be served and soon. Especially Madge, she doesn't have that much time left. Suggest also that conflicting requests do not cancel each other out but somehow manage to materialise in tandem by means of a Mary Poppins kind of magic. Then, Dear Universe, may I please have me some Claudia Schiffer?

  3. Behave as if the object of your desire is on its way. Yes, Claudia Schiffer is going to knock on my door at any minute. Any minute now. I'm wearing a tuxedo. I look more stylish than Vincent Price and because Claudia hasn't pitched up yet, I'll have to sleep in my tux. I've chained myself to my bed with an elaborate pulley system so that I would not risk creasing my tux while lying down or getting up. Must look my best for Claudia, because she's going to knock on my door any minute now. My friends invited me out for drinks and dayglo paint filled condom fights, but I can't go in case Claudia shows up. Not even the shenanigans of viking mead or meatshank the bunny to the revolving bed by lava lamp light are going to cause me to defer from behaving as if Claudia is going to knock on my door at any minute. Even if I were invited to live on my own in the Playboy Mansion, with delicately hand picked Playmates who tickle my fancy and fancy my tickle, will I even consider behaving in any other way. Right.

  4. Be open to receiving it. I'm very open. If Claudia walked through my door right now, I'd give her my wallet and my keys and all the sweet petty mutterings I can muster in my broken German and a hushed tone. Law of Attraction or not.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not entirely convinced that the Law of Attraction is a very practical problem solving approach. Let's demonstrate why by means of a simple thought experiment.

A simple thought experiment to break the Law of Attraction


Imagine that you get to choose the captain for an exhilarating new passenger liner called the RMS Titanic. You have a choice between captain Jack Sparrow and captain Wallace D Wattles. Jack Sparrow has had excruciating and extensive navy training under the Royal Navy. He's a sea dog, through and through. Wallace D Wattles sat in his room all day asking the universe to be a captain, believing that he'd be a captain and being open to receiving the position of captain on your ship. Wallace has never set his foot on a ship and gets seasick on a skateboard. Who would you choose to command the Titanic? Well, obviously you chose Wallace because your ship sank.

Julius Malema Wikipedia entry hacked!

I don't know how long the Julius Malema Wikipedia entry would be up as is, but have a look and see if it still resembles this:
Julius Malema Wikipedia entry hacked
Vox populi, vox dei?

The intercourse with baboons and pigs part is going to require a [citation needed]. The sad part is, the truly degrading parts are all true.

11 December 2008

Top 10 Horror Films of the Nineties and Beyond

The Vault of Horror is at it again. Brian Solomon, that man of science, was visited by Cenobites from Fangoria and Bloody Disgusting and compelled to update his top horror film list. Naturally, he contacted his network of horror elite and myself (who is just a guy who likes the combination of buckets of blood and inexplicable boob shots, really) to help him out.

Disclaimer: I do not particularly enjoy the recent plague of politically correct demographically representative excuses for info-mercial teen flicks of horror. This list was compiled by looking through my DVD collection and picking the ones that came out in 1990 or later in no particular order. Very few recent horror films obey my 10 commandments of horror, much to my dismay and much to their detriment.

My Top 10 Horror Films of the Nineties and Beyond




Saw


Unfairly grouped with the vacuous Eli Roth-style gorno films, Saw actually offers much by means of existential crisis. The first film in the series had a great story in the tradition of the master, Alfred Hitchcock. The actors were all unknowns (or near unknowns) and that helped to prevent the film from becoming a vehicle for big names, like the Hannibal Lecter series inevitably became. Gives new meaning to the term 'cancer of our society'.

Sleepless


It's a giallo film. More than that, it's one of Dario Argento's giallo films. I don't need much more convincing, plus I'm having an Argento come hell or Dark Water.

The Skeleton Key


It's been a while since zombie movies involved a bit of voodoo. This tradition gets a tribute in this stellar film, which never quite becomes a zombie film, but wanders in the time frame before one becomes a zombie.

By mixing zombie-like voodoo practices into a psychological thriller and adding a little bit of horror with the delectable Kate Hudson, this film is a rare treat in an era where horror films just aren't what they used to be.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose


What a pleasant surprise! At first, I was apprehensive about this film because no exorcism film could possibly be on par with The Exorcist - ever. Fortunately, The Exorcism of Emily Rose does not try to compete with The Exorcist.

Where The Exorcist has the shape of a psychological thriller, which focuses on the faith of the exorcist, this film takes the shape of a courtroom drama and leaves the supernatural elements largely open ended and unattended. It also features the brilliant music of Christopher Young, who somehow manages to fuse modern sounds with the tradition of Bernard Herrmann.

Dagon


Lovecraft like only Brian Yuzna could produce it. If you are a horror aficionado, you owe it to yourself to check out this low budget gorefest. Lots of ominous weather patterns, buckets of blood and even an evil cult much like Scientology.

Stigmata


A film about someone who gets stigmata, only the church doesn't want that person to get stigmata. A fancy, flashy editing job that perhaps highlights how much the church has lost touch with the average man on the street it is meant to serve. Features Patricia Arquette, who is no stranger to horror having started off in Nightmare on Elm Street 3.

Dude, it's a film about religion and the church. Of course it is a horror! Not quite as horrific (or as horrible) as Faith Like Potatoes, but also more entertaining.

Bram Stoker's Dracula


Stylish, suave and nearly unbeatable as far as the story of Dracula is concerned. It features the whores of Satan. I'm sold.

The Ninth Gate


Stylish, suave and nearly unbeatable as far as the story of Faust is concerned. It features Satan as a whore. I'm sold.

The Addiction


Simply superb. Not even the rap music on the soundtrack can ruin Abel Ferrara's magnum opus (thus far).

1408


One of the handful of Stephen King films that does his literary excellence justice. It does run the danger of turning into a John Cusack vehicle, but then John Cusack is not Tom Cruize. Cusack manages to convince you that he is someone other than John Cusack, which is exactly the point of acting. Great story, executed on screen very adequately.

My First Demotivator


Despair, inc has some wickedly funny demotivators. I decided that I also want to join in the fun. This is my first demotivator. Kind of like My Little Pony, except with less body odour.

10 December 2008

Does Darwinian Evolution claim that DNA mutations are random?

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case."
[Charles Darwin, Wikiquote]

This post forms part of a series on Mr Marshall's Random Mutator. You can find all the posts here:
  1. The Random Mutator of Perry Marshall.

  2. Is DNA Analogous to Human Language?

  3. How Random is Random Mutation in DNA?

  4. Does Darwinian Evolution Claim that DNA Mutations are Random?


Evolution vs Genetics


Darwinian Evolution came about in 1859 with the publishing of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. The roots of genetics could be traced back to 1865 with the publishing of Gregor Mendel's Experiments on Plant Hybridisation. However, the importance of Mendel's work was not fully realised until the 20th century, with the modern evolutionary synthesis.

It is thus apparent that Charles Darwin made no claims about genetics. Charles Darwin tried to explain how species came about and how some traits become more widespread while others become extinct.


Mu, a Japanese word which roughly translates as 'no thing'. Kind of what Mr Marshall's Random Mutation Generator has to do with Darwinian Evolution, or evolution in general.

What is Darwinian Evolution?


As already noted, Darwinian Evolution and the modern theory of evolution are not the same thing at all. Darwinian Evolution claims the following:
  1. "If all the individuals of a species reproduced successfully, the population of that species would increase uncontrollably.

  2. Populations tend to remain about the same size from year to year.

  3. Environmental resources are limited.

  4. No two individuals in a given species are exactly alike.

  5. Much of this variation in a population can be passed on to offspring."

[Introduction to Evolution, Wikipedia]

Since resources are limited, there is a struggle among individuals of a species for survival. Darwin precisely claims that it is not chance alone which determines survival, but that survival depends on the traits of an individual which enable that individual to survive. In other words, survival of the fittest.

The modern theory of evolution thus bases its principles of natural selection and speciation on Darwinian Evolution, but Darwinian Evolution entirely lacks some of the other modern mechanisms of evolution. This is because the mechanisms of gene flow and genetic drift in particular are based on genetics, with which Darwin was unfamiliar.

What does Darwinian Evolution claim about DNA mutations?


Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

What does Mr Marshall's Random Mutation Generator have to do with Darwinian Evolution?


Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

06 December 2008

How Random is Random Mutation on DNA?

"If we want to postulate a deity capable of engineering all the organized complexity in the world, either instantaneously or by guiding evolution, that deity must have been vastly complex in the first place.

The creationist, whether a naive Bible-thumper or an educated bishop, simply postulates an already existing being of prodigious intelligence and complexity."

Richard Dawkins


This post forms part of a series on Mr Marshall's Random Mutator. You can find all the posts here:
  1. The Random Mutator of Perry Marshall.

  2. Is DNA Analogous to Human Language?

  3. How Random is Random Mutation in DNA?

  4. Does Darwinian Evolution Claim that DNA Mutations are Random?


What is mutation?


Simply put, a mutation is a change in the nucleotide sequence of the genetic material of an organism. This genetic mutation could cause changes in the phenotype of your species. For example, you could have a mommy and a daddy with blue eyes who give birth to a child with brown eyes.

What causes mutation?


"Mutations can be caused by copying errors in the genetic material during cell division, by exposure to ultraviolet or ionizing radiation, chemical mutagens, or viruses, or can be induced by the organism, itself, by cellular processes such as hypermutation."
[Mutation, Wikipedia]

Copying errors, you say? One would think that a system intelligently designed by an omniscient, omnipotent deity would not be prone to copying errors. It surely wouldn't be sensitive to ultraviolet radiation either, given that an omniscient deity would've seen that one coming.

Similarly, if mutations were not random, but predicted and designed by a perfect designer, one would expect that these errors would not be copied over to the next generations, but that some error-correcting mechanism would be in place. This would ensure that if you exercised your free will too leniently and you ended up next to a UV light for too long that your children and your children's children are at least protected from your inability to practice sound discrimination towards malignant types of light sources.

Do mutations in DNA occur randomly and indiscriminately?


This is exactly what Mr Marshall's random mutator suggests. However, in DNA, you don't have one string, like you do in Mr Marshall's random mutator. You have two strands. Both strands consist entirely of the letters A, C, G and T. An A on the one string mostly (but not necessarily) corresponds to a T on the other strand, and vice versa. A C on one strand mostly (but not necessarily) corresponds to a G on the other strand, and vice versa. More significantly, any possible combination of A, C, G and T is a proverbial word in the language of DNA.

This is important, because not all combinations of letters in Plain English are words. Mr Marshall would do well to model his random mutator so that it bewares of the Jabberwocky. At least this would resemble the working of one strand of DNA somewhat. Since any combination of letters in the DNA alphabet form meaningful words in the genetic code, there is no possibility that a random mutation would prevent your genetic information from being transferred. It follows that the randomness of mutation in DNA is immaterial, because no mutation would cause your organism to necessarily become extinct.

Cro-magnon skull
A Cro-magnon skull. Mr Marshall's random mutator reasons that natural selection implies that we can revert our current human population back to Cro-magnons, and if we can't evolve to our current level of humanity, humanity would necessarily become extinct.

Mutation does occur randomly, but not indiscriminately thanks to natural selection. A mutation in some of your DNA is not necessarily a mutation in all of your DNA, or in all of the DNA of a particular species, as only the mutations which get passed on to your offspring are relevant. Mr Marshall's mutator does not model this scenario at all, but his model implies that any random mutation in the DNA of a particular organism automatically occurs species wide.

Mr Marshall's random mutator does not model natural selection


Mr Marshall reasons that since you can mutate randomly and then revert back to your selected text, his mutator does model natural selection. I fail to see how taking modern day humans and reverting us back to archaic homo sapiens has anything to do with natural selection. Besides, his 'Revert To Selected Text' button does not in fact revert back to selected text. It entirely clears the text. As an information scientist, Mr Marshall should surely be aware of Nielsen's heuristics. Poor user interface design does nothing to bring your point across more clearly.

Natural selection is not a carefully designed, directed process. Nor is it capable of being completely ignored in a model of mutation. Sticking with Darwin's definition:

"One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die".
[Wikiquote, Charles Darwin]

There is nothing in this mutator that models selecting the strongest letters, words or sentences, and letting the weakest letters, words or sentences die. Note that this mechanism does not imply a designer. This mechanism could be brought about by an outbreak of Aids in your population.

Surely, if your DNA were designed by a perfect, omniscient deity, she would've seen that one coming too? Why then are some people immune to Aids while others are not? Why then are some more immune to malaria, while others are not? Natural selection seems to explain that, without the need for a designer. Mr Marshall's random mutator does not.

By the way, I haven't mentioned Cthulhu in this post. I just thought I'd randomly mention that.

05 December 2008

Is DNA analogous to human language?

"It all starts with random mutation, from which natural selection can choose winners. Since DNA is a language based on a four-letter alphabet (A, C, T, G); since letters form words (Codons) and words form instructions (Genes) we can test the concept in Plain English."
Mr Perry Marshall


This post forms part of a series on Mr Marshall's Random Mutator. You can find all the posts here:
  1. The Random Mutator of Perry Marshall.

  2. Is DNA Analogous to Human Language?

  3. How Random is Random Mutation in DNA?

  4. Does Darwinian Evolution Claim that DNA Mutations are Random?


The analogy that DNA is a language like Plain English is just a metaphor. It's a very convenient metaphor to explain the mechanisms of DNA, but as a metaphor, it should not be taken too literally. Operations on a string of text in English do not represent operations on DNA. Here is why:

DNA is a language based on a four letter alphabet (A, C, T, G)


This seems pretty valid and it does clarify the workings of DNA a little. However, letters in Plain English do not work like this:

"Each nucleotide sub-unit consists of a phosphate, deoxyribose sugar and one of the 4 nitrogenous nucleotide bases. The purine bases adenine (A) and guanine (G) are larger and consist of two aromatic rings. The pyrimidine bases cytosine (C) and thymine (T) are smaller and consist of only one aromatic ring.

In the double-helix configuration, two strands of DNA are joined to each other by hydrogen bonds in an arrangement known as base pairing. These bonds almost always form between an adenine base on one strand and a thymine on the other strand and between a cytosine base on one strand and a guanine base on the other."

[Transfer of information via the genetic code, Wikipedia]

The letters A, C, T and G represent nucleotides. While these letters are the basic building blocks of DNA, just like letters are the basic building blocks of words, nucleotides are further divisible into more basic building blocks.

Nucleotides from Wikipedia
A nucleotide is composed of a ring of nitrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms, a five carbon sugar (together referred to as a nucleoside) and one phosphate group.
[Nucleotide, Wikipedia]

While you could argue that letters are formed by ascenders, descenders, markers and serifs, these do not represent the basic building blocks of letters in the same way that a ring of nitrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms, a five carbon sugar and one phosphate group represent the basic building blocks of nucleotides.


The Gypsy Curse font from sinisterfonts.com. Does it look like nucleotides? Didn't think so.

Letters are not further divisible into functional parts in Plain English, but the nucleotides which make up DNA are further divisible into functional, stand-alone, chemical parts.

Furthermore, in any language there are rules which stipulate which letters can go next to which other letters. You'd mostly have a vowel next to a consonant, for instance.These rules are not determined by the message encoded in the text, but have to do with the conventions of the language.

This is different from DNA because DNA is not a language. DNA mostly forms as two strands: an adenine base on one strand and a thymine on the other strand and between a cytosine base on one strand and a guanine base on the other. This arrangement is not determined by convention, nor by the genetic code contained in the DNA, but the chemical properties of nucleotides and the resulting Hydrogen bonds.

Random mutations on a single string of Plain English text do not take the double helix structure of DNA into account.

This means the claim that we can test DNA concepts with Plain English is fundamentally flawed. The analogy that DNA is similar to Plain English is entirely inappropriate, as random operations on an entire string of text do not equate to any kind of operations on DNA at all.

04 December 2008

The Random Mutator of Perry Marshall

"Oh no! He's a creationist proving his point with a spam generator."
http://ave-imperator.blogspot.com/


This post forms part of a series on Mr Marshall's Random Mutator. You can find all the posts here:
  1. The Random Mutator of Perry Marshall.

  2. Is DNA Analogous to Human Language?

  3. How Random is Random Mutation in DNA?

  4. Does Darwinian Evolution Claim that DNA Mutations are Random?


This random mutator is an attempt by Mr Marshall to debunk Darwinian Evolution. Note that Darwinian Evolution is merely the origin of our current Theory of Evolution. No biologist currently believes in Darwinian Evolution in its strict sense, as the Theory of Evolution itself has gone through the processes of adaptation, genetic drift, gene flow, mutation, natural selection and speciation.

mutation
A mutation. It might be pretty damn ugly, but it's not extinct.

It is thus clear from the outset that this random mutator is a straw man argument. Nevertheless, information scientist to information scientist, yet biological layman to biological layman, let's scrutinise this random mutator of Mr Marshall.

How Mr Marshall Imagines Random Mutation Works



  • the genetic code of DNA is analogous to a high-level human language. Letters map to amino acids, words map to codons and sentences (or the meaning of sentences) map to instructions in the genetic code

  • random mutations in the letters of words are similar to mutations in the genetic code of DNA

  • random mutation occurs among the entire portion of code without keeping certain portions intact

  • Darwinian Evolution claims that these mutations are completely random and are not subjected to any kind of selection process

  • a selection process implies a designer of that process. Hello, Cthulhu!

  • if you apply random mutation to a sentence and you don't get a new meaningful sentence immediately, your mutated organisms immediately go extinct


In the following posts, I shall take each of these points to task as patiently as I can while listening to Slayer. I've already dealt with Mr Marshall's spurious claims that DNA proves the existence of god. Hopefully, these posts would also lead to a healthy debate. All comments, hate mail and bottles of single malt whiskey are welcome, however I shall only take intellectually honest comments seriously.

03 December 2008

Slayer gets the traffic of The Beast!

Read this post while listening to the theme from The Twilight Zone. In an uncanny turn of events, my review for Slayer's Divine Intervention managed to get The Traffic of the Beast!

traffic of the beast

Woohoo!
mano cornuta heavy  metal reviews
slayer divine intervention heavy metal mano cornuta
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heavy metal reviews
heavy metal music reviews

30 November 2008

Bram Stoker's Dracula DVD Review

Rating


Necro Files horror film review DVD review bram stoker dracula

Conclusion


A stellar cast and a celebrated director team up with Keanu Reeves to bring this classic vampire tale to the silver screen the way Bram Stoker intended it. Well, so he intended it to be a book. As if people read anything that's not flashing at them like a bad acid trip.

Bram Stoker's Dracula film poster

Plot


The brave and fearless prince of Transylvania returns from a crusade to find his beloved deceased. Of course, the brave and fearless prince never flinched while impaling heathen scum, even if they were women and children, as long as their heads went on sticks. But matters of the heart are different, so the brave and fearless prince flinches.

He utters a string of petty blasphemies, reminiscent of Morbid Angel in their early days. This is enough to become excommunicated, which is a blessing in disguise, really. Since being excommunicated, the prince is demoted to a count, yet somehow manages to escape death and greatly increases his fortune. Moral of the story: the private sector is where the real opportunities are. You can slave away your whole life working for the government, and what do you get in return? A cubicle-sized house served by a modest motley crew of servants if you are lucky, flying lessons for your bride to be if you're not.

Being excommunicated also has other benefits, like an autonomous shadow and this thick accent which makes women swoon and commands beasts. Which, come to think of it, amounts to the same thing. The count ends up in the 19th century, which would explain why he dresses like Oscar Wilde without getting beaten to a pulp. Except if the movie played off in France, in which case you get smacked with gloves for not dressing like Oscar Wilde. Yet not beaten to a pulp, because the French are pansies.

The count devises a cunning plan to sweep Mina (Wynona Ryder) off her feet. There are only a few technicalities, namely that she's not really his Mina but the reincarnation of his Mina and currently the Mina of Keanu Reeves (does it really matter what character he plays? He's like Tom Cruize, he can only play himself with the kind of conviction that's either laudable or laughable). That, and sunlight is a burden. Oh, and he has to sleep in a coffin. On a bedding from a garden of his homeland. That will certainly get the neighbours talking, so the cunning plan involves seducing Mina's friend and keeping Mina sedated on vast quantities of absinthe. Hey, if the neighbours are going to talk anyway, you might as well make them talk a great deal.

Sadie Frost Dracula DVD review
Sadie Frost, who dresses like Robert Smith in this film. Everyone wants to bonk her, once they find out she's not really Robert Smith. Can't say I blame them.

Nothing says 'I love you' quite like sleeping with her best friend, keeping her intoxicated and dragging her off to the wildest parts of Europe where nobody can reach you without a coach driven by a ghoul, so naturally the plan works. Except that there are other suitors who want to sleep with Mina's best friend, keep Mina intoxicated and drag her off to other wild parts of Europe. Parts that could be reached more easily by crossing a channel, for instance. Except for France.

Review


This film has some really impressive Victorian costumes. It is a period piece, but the designers managed to concoct a modern feel despite the hair pieces and the rusty medical equipment. There are also some great latex props, with CGI reserved for what it does best.

The DVD features a host of treats, from the theatrical trailer to a documentary on Dracula to a making of. The making of reveals just how brilliantly Francis Ford Coppola directed the cast. Actors were allowed to give their input after the entire cast sat reading the source, namely Bram Stoker's Dracula. This often leads to complications, as actors are often attention hungry and they spoil the craft with self-indulgence. Coppola manages to hold tight reins, while not making it appear so to the actors. This clever tactic does not stifle the creativity of the actors, while simultaneously allowing Coppola to orchestrate the entire affair to his liking. Truly one of my favourite films, especially thanks to the great directing and the sheer effort that went into preserving detail.

The unsettling score by Wojciech Kilar stands by itself as a horror film for the blind. He also did an excellent score for The Ninth Gate. Brooding, atmospheric and more intoxicating than that punch you virtually can't remember. At least that's your excuse.

Director


Francis Ford Coppola.

Cast


Sadie Frost, Richard E. Grant, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder.

14 November 2008

The Brain That Wouldn't Die DVD Review

Rating


horror film review top necro files blogspot

Conclusion


A horror film among horror films. It features everything a horror film needs to be great: from the paranoid and panicking violins to the sans-serif fonts. It even features buckets of blood, blonde strippers, brunette strippers, animated corpses and a few gratuitous boob shots. Well, as gratuitous as they came in the sixties. It even features suitable metaphors which provide social critique of the "chains we can believe in" society. The film is in black and white - like most of life, if you just do your homework and check your premises properly.

Plot


  • Jan Compton (Virginia Leith, who makes a delectable corpse) is decapitated in a car accident. Her husband to be, surgeon Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) was playing his Decapitated albums too loud and didn't pay attention to the road.

  • Dr Cortner is a mad scientist ala Lady Frankenstein who manages to keep Jan's head alive. I promise, no more Jan gave head in the car jokes.

  • Jan (or Jan in the pan, as she is affectionately known by fans of this film) goes through an existential crisis. I mean the poor girl thought she was going shopping and here she ends up without a body. I'm sure living without breasts she could cope with, but no nails to manicure? No wonder she starts hating Dr Cortner.

  • Dr Cortner decides to look for the body of the girl of his dreams for the girl of his dreams in the cat house. I'm sure it must've been a real catharsis for the poor guy, deciding to buy a body when he needed a body for Jan in the pan's sparkling personality. Besides, how is Jan in the pan going to stop him from having a night out with the boys? Well, Jan has her mysterious waves. Make that mysterious ways.

Brain That Wouldn't Die film poster Wikipedia top horror films reviewed reviews review

Review


It is alarming how, for its time, this film capitalised on the fears of the general public for the medical profession. Remember that this film was produced before the first heart transplant was even performed, yet it deals with swapping bodies - or swapping heads, depending on which way you look at it. I guess your perspective depends on whose head it is.

Regardless, with the expected technological singularity, there are a few groups who are beginning to ponder the impact of such a radical change on our concepts of what it means to be human. They fall under the blanket term transhumanists. One of the transhumanist movements is the Extropy movement. Jan in the pan would do well to pay mind to some of their ideas.

The principles of Extropy


  • Perpetual Progress: seeking more intelligence, more efficiency, more wisdom, more than being content with a shoddy pad, a big screen TV and free basic health care. Growth in healthy directions as opposed to the decline of civilisation from nations paranoid of communism into nations paranoid of capitalism.

  • Self-Transformation: improving oneself, through technology if necessary. Being experimental and proactive in your evolution as a person.

  • Practical Optimism: sticking to rational approaches means you can be optimistic about the results.

  • Intelligent Technology: because ultimately the industrial revolution was about improving life. To transcend our reliance on nature is divine and technology enables us to do so. Intelligent technology more so. Imagine never having a car accident because cars are intelligent enough to drive you home safely.

  • Open Society: meaning supporting social orders which facilitate freedom. This means deregulation, decentralisation of power and free information flow. Hackers like Gary McKinnon will no longer be deported to stand trial in foreign countries for taking his constitutional right of access to information seriously.

  • Self-Direction: meaning you determine your own happiness and you do what makes you happy without being coerced into any dubious overseas wars.

  • Rational Thinking: meaning you approach any ism with the necessary questions, an ability to work with probabilities and that you focus on innovation of new ideas instead of on the implementation of old dogma.

Of course, this all seems like ponies and rainbows, and in fact it is. I do think for Jan's sake, she should have considered these options before buying into the ideology that she is the ultimate horror. Everyone agrees with Bobby from pointlessbanter that Glitter is the ultimate horror. However, I'm also thankful that Jan did not follow the road less travelled to this fountain of knowledge, because that would make a far more boring film.

One of my favourite horror films of all time and fortunately also one you can download free of charge! Yes, it is legal.

Director
Joseph Green

Cast
Bruce Brighton, Jason Evers, Virginia Leith, Bonnie Sharie, Paula Maurice

10 November 2008

Top 10 Horror Films Made to Date

The formidable Vault of Horror requested a top 10 Horror film list from some goremeisters of the blogosphere. While I'm straight and homophobically so, Brian Solomon's smooth tenor voice eventually won me over so I present to you the Top 10 Horror Films Made to Date as determined by the caprice of the Necro Files.

By the way, the title does not refer to films you can actually date, although luring an unsuspecting member of the opposite sex to your lair to privately view one of these celluloid autopsies might help in your quest to sift the wheat from the Children of the Corn, as it were.

My Top 10 Horror Films Made to Date


  1. The Addiction

  2. Brain That Wouldn't Die

  3. Dagon

  4. Bram Stoker's Dracula

  5. Devil's Nightmare

  6. House on Haunted Hill

  7. Manhunter

  8. Plague of the Zombies

  9. Rabid

  10. Sleepless


I do realise that I skipped on a few stalwarts of the genre like the great Alfred Hitchcock and the bitterly satirical George A Romano, but you can find those on just about any horror list. Here follows a short description of my reasons for choosing each film:

The Addiction


Artsy fartsy director Abel Ferrara brings this black and white masterpiece to life. Whether you put stock in its allegorical references to drug addiction or not, this is a pleasure to watch. It's much deeper than an ingrown toenail, yet about twice as gruesome. One of my favourite films, of any genre.

Brain That Wouldn't Die


One of those classics that just gets better every time I watch it. Picture a movie about giving head. No, not in that way, I mean really giving head. Exit bowel movements and sensation of your lower limbs. Enter existential crisis. Mayhem ensues.

Dagon


A patchwork of Lovecraft tales strung together with the sinews of a race of uncanny fish people. Lofty literary pretensions aside, it features a few gratuitous boob shots and buckets of blood.

Bram Stoker's Dracula


For a change, they did it by the book. With by the book I mean they did in fact base it on Bram Stoker's Dracula. This is not Bram Stoker's Dracula cut from the same cloth as Stephen King's Children of the Corn. Nay, nay, this is Dracula more or less as envisaged by Bram Stoker, complete with Hungarian expletives and the whores of Satan.

Devil's Nightmare


This delightful film tells the tale of a group of tourists who get stuck in a castle. A succubus visits the castle and manages to seduce all of them. Each tourist represents one of the seven deadly sins. Fucking tourists. They have no moral fibre.

House on Haunted Hill


No horror list would be complete without at least one Vincent Price film. I chose this one, but Shock or The Last Man on Earth would also suffice.

Manhunter


I have a morbid fascination with this film. It must be the shocking pastels of the synthetic materials they wore in the eighties. I also enjoy the fact that the film focuses on the eerie Tooth Fairy instead of on the eerie Hannibal Lecter.

Plague of the Zombies


No horror list would be complete without at least one Hammer film. Of course, the same goes for at least one Dracula film and at least one wolf man film. This is Hammer's only Zombie film, and one of the most influential Zombie films from the Voodoo inspired side of the genre. Still some of the hottest corpses I've seen. I can scarce believe that the actresses are English.

Rabid


David Cronenberg cut his teeth on low budget happy accidents like this one. Featuring the delectable Marilyn Chambers, this film is gorno with suitable metaphor before there even was gorno devoid of metaphor.

Marilyn Chambers is a topless and bottomless (depending on the weather, I guess) waitress who turned into an adult film star. After that, she nearly broke into the mainstream by landing roles such as this one. Unfortunately, her past as an adult film star made film producers nervous and she was kept out of big mainstream films. It is unfortunate, because she's a fine scream queen and she does an amazing job in this film.

Sleepless


A brilliant addition to the giallo genre long after it had been declared dead and buried. You simply can't touch Dario Argento when it comes to stylish, sterile and meticulously planned murder scenes. While I am a huge fan of both Susperia and Deep Red, this film has all the trademarks of a resurrection. Unfortunately, the resurrection didn't go anywhere and giallo has been declared dead more times than Rasputin.

That's my current top 10 list. Of course I neglected to add a wolf man. If I did, I would've included Curse of the Devil. I also haven't included any of the excellent Korean horrors of recent years because I haven't delved into them yet. Comments, queries, black mail, lacy thongs and beer money are all welcome!

04 November 2008

Devildriver shows postponed due to Christian bigotry

Devildriver, those groove growlers from the embers of Coal Chamber, had a full tour booked to South Africa. In typical South African fashion, the entire framework was in place to ensure success. In typical South African fashion, some cretins just had to ruin it for everybody.

One of the gigs were scheduled to take place at Oppidam, a venue near Hartbeespoortdam. This scenic resort is ideally equipped for rock concerts and has hosted many of them in the past – including weekend long festivals.

Thornrose Productions is a rising productions company. In South Africa, production companies are few and far between. Like most industries in South Africa, there are a few monopolies who maintain a comfortable oligarchy. The event organising companies are usually in cahoots with abhorrent radio personalities from another epoch – or perhaps even another dimension. A new independent addition to the largely controlled events organisation market is thus certainly welcome.

Thornrose booked a Devildriver gig at Oppidam, only to have the local Christian community petition against the occurrence of such an event on the allegations that the band is Satanic. One would think that trivial bum fluff like this would go largely unnoticed, especially when there are less trivial matters like the reputation of Oppidam, the profits and the reputation of their client, Thornrose, at stake. Alas, Oppidam, in their oblivious wisdom, decided that they agreed with the local troglodytes and cancelled the Devildriver gig after Thornose already had a contract with dry ink. Apparently Christian money has a different value than secular money.

Now being a metalhead, I'm no Devildriver fan, but I'm no fan of censorship either. The fact that Devildriver isn't remotely a Satanic band is a huge factor in my low regard of them. Heavy metal is about the taboos in society. Traditionally, metal lyrical themes revolve around sex, violence and the occult. Tales of sobriety, abstinence and praise and worship are simply not good copy. Even the Bible is laced with tales of sodomy, incest, rape, genocide, debauchery and more vengeful gods than Lovecraft could concoct in three opium induced trances. This is no accident, as nobody would read a book that is ten commandments and a zombie Jew thick. No, it had to be even thicker than that.



Devildriver sings groovy songs about their maker's hand, that's how dark and Satanic they are. I feel that if you were really compelled to play in a death metal fanboy band, at least do it like Bloodbath or Death Metal All Stars do it. Nevertheless, for the slow readers out there, I concocted this highly scientific table of correspondence to move the subject closer to the light.

Deicide Megadeth Soft Cell Satan and Jesus on The Necro Files!

Don't you just love highly scientific presentations? They make it seem so official.

I do however realise that comprehension – even with the aid of illustration – might take a couple of repetitions. Usually, for the kind of troglodyte who spends most of his time finding Satan in the doings of others, only a couple of beatings can truly aid comprehension. To be frank, what kind of Christian can you possibly be if you can't find Jesus in the doings of others? How is it that you can find Satan under every rock, but you can't find Jesus there? Surely, being Christian means you should be obsessed with Jesus as opposed to being obsessed with the fun guy?

If, like me, you are utterly disgusted at the neglected tact on behalf of Oppidam, feel free to contact them and express your disgust:

You can contact Oppidam to complain about the gig getting cancelled by emailing them or by calling them.

This is their email address:
zelda@oppidam.co.za

This is their phone number:
012 259 1585

Cthulhu Ftaghn!

11 October 2008

Pillar Perfect: Commentary on an irrational interpretation of anarcho-capitalism

one dollar bill burnt istock photo anarchy
This is a commentary on a post by a self-styled anarchist. You can find the entire post here: Pillage Perfect.

I have taken quotations from that page for commentary, much like I did for the tragically lacklustre Serj essay.


As it stands, my understanding is that Anarcho-Capitalists believe that no business shall be regulated by laws, however the Rule of Law would still apply to individuals.

As it stands, my understanding of anarchism is that nobody shall be regulated by a government. The free market is allowed to operate freely, because all affairs of man should be determined by the entities (be they individuals or businesses) concerned on a voluntary basis.

There is no clear definition of anarcho-capitalism used in this post - not even an outside link for reference. The closest to a definition this post gets is the above.

Contrast this definition with a standard definition of anarcho-capitalism, namely a society without any government where the free market rules. The private sector would enforce law. Note that natural law would still apply to both businesses and individuals. The differences are that the law industry is privatised and not ruled by a central monopoly like the state, and that economic practices are not artificially regulated.

Also note that the absence of government is precisely the scenario that anarchism suggests. Anarchism is defined as a society where government is abolished. To criticise Anarcho-Capitalism for not having a regulating agency like the government is to criticise the basic tenet of anarchy of any flavour.


History has shown us that businesses, corporations, land owners (the original "business owners" pre-capitalism), and the like are not, in fact, prone to ethical behavior. If they were, slavery would never have existed. Child labor would never have come about, and worker's rights would never have been an issue.


Capitalism is a system where property is privately owned and where the basic means of production is privately owned. For a business owner – original or not – to exist, capitalism is an a priori.

The original business owners pre-capitalism? That's a contradiction. There can be no business owners pre-capitalism, because owning a private business implies that capitalism is already established.

If one looks at the history of businesses, corporations and land owners, one finds no clear conclusion as to their propensity for ethical behaviour.

The Enron scandal is often sited as an example of the horrors of an unregulated market. This is nothing but an argument from ignorance. Picture a scenario where governments regulate markets absolutely. Would Enron be bankrupt today? No, of course not. They would still be up and running, with no stockholder any wiser as to their dirty tactics.

South Africa's Eskom is an example of the horrors of a regulated market, where competition is kept out and monopolies are kept in place by the divine rule of the government. In an unregulated market, Eskom would - just like Enron - be bankrupt today for exactly the same reason, namely selling commodities they did not have.

In short, having a massive corporation like Enron go bankrupt for not playing nice is an argument for deregulation, and not an argument for regulation. A company that doesn't deliver the goods should go bankrupt, like Enron did. A company that is friendly with the government does not go bankrupt in a regulated economy.

Slavery is a system whereby persons are deprived of personal freedom (including property rights) and forced to perform labour or services. Note that slavery is a pre-capitalist era practice. In fact, depriving individuals of private property rights is the first requisite for slavery to take hold. As a notion that brought about private ownership, capitalism actually brought the end of slavery.

Capitalism is not a system where human beings are held as property. Historically, big businesses and corporations never kept slaves. In fact, big businesses and corporations only came into being with a large dose of deregulation after the Industrial Revolution. Less government control gave rise to more individual autonomy, which gave rise to private ownership.

Slavery thrives in conditions where there are few land owners and a low level of technological development. This is precisely the kind of conditions which are a result of socialism. In African society, which has never been noted for its high level of private ownership nor its high level of technological development, African tribes such as Ashanti of Ghana and the Yoruba of Nigeria historically relied solely on slave trade.

Note that without a government, there would be no slave trade. The slave trade became established when slaves were captured and sold between African governments and their mostly Spanish and Portuguese counterparts. It is thus inaccurate to presume land ownership and slavery go hand in hand, as historically the exact opposite rings true.

In a society where you own the means of your productive capabilities and the means to sell them in a voluntary way, worker rights can never become an issue.

Of course, monopolies are good for the giant business that succeeds at crushing out the competition, but it is inherently bad for individuals, and yes, small businesses.

Not necessarily. A monopoly that is artificially kept in place is bad for everyone. Monopolies do however come and go when they are subjected to the laws of a free market, and by extension the law of supply and demand, as the Enron scandal showed.

A monopoly that is not regulated is actually good for individuals, and yes, small businesses, because of the resulting gaps in the market and because nobody can be kept out of the market by regulation.

There is a huge difference between a monopoly as part of a business cycle and a monopoly that is artificially created and kept in place by regulation. The former is inevitable and transient, the latter is artificial and leads to bad things like a credit crunch. Regulation doesn't solve business cycle problems, it only prolongs them and makes their impact worse.

Taxation is, actually, the largest group plan with the greatest group rate available. Regardless of your opinion about how budgets are made, and if we should have more say in how our taxes are used, you can't argue that the benefits of taxes give us the best bang for our buck.

You could, actually. We are agreed that artificial monopolies are bad? Then we have to conclude that a monopoly of taxation is bad, as it is monopolised by the government. We already established that private ownership leads to personal freedom and wealth. We already established that slavery is a state where your means of production is owned by someone else. How is taxation different? Does the end justify the means? That's like looking at the majestic pyramids and saying slavery is a good idea, because it gets results.

Anarcho-capitalism argues for private ownership of services like law and security precisely because it believes private ownership would greatly increase the efficacy of these services.

The main idea of anarcho-capitalism is to ensure that our governance becomes subject to the rules of perfect competition. This implies that we do not have one centralised government monopolising certain services, but many buyers and sellers who offer the same services, thus resulting in many substitutes for the government.


But who will pay for all of these services? You will! On a higher cost, single payer rate to a privatized company. Leaving the vast majority of people who cannot afford these services out in the cold, and with no access to programs that defend or protect their human rights.


Not exactly. We already established that competition is bad for monopolies, but good for us as individual consumers and small businesses. Instead of a government granting a tender to a company based on favour, tenders would be based on pure economic matters such as cost effectiveness and service delivery. Since there is no monopoly of your tax money and taxation is voluntary, the rates would actually go down (more competition, remember?).

Even if the rates go up, there would be more means to create wealth. In effect, escalating rates would have less effect on the average Joe on the street, because the average Joe on the street would be more wealthy.

Consider the state of the average Chinese person, where the government artificially keeps rates low, with the state of the average Hongkonger, who is largely subjected to the laws of the free market. The average Chinese person still can't afford the subsidised rates, yet the average Hongkonger can afford their largely exorbitant rates.

Since there is more competition, there would be more programs that defend or protect human rights. This means those who cannot afford these services in a monopolised system, would be more likely to afford them in a system with more competition – or start their own such systems!


To whom will the poor complain to about dangerous working conditions? To whom will the employees complain to about not being paid fairly, or at all? To whom will the workers turn to to stop exploitation? Will they complain to the company? Ha! The company will simply fire them, end of problem. Then what will they do?


This is based on several flawed assumptions. Some of these include:
  1. The poor necessarily have dangerous working conditions.

  2. Employees have no way to raise grievances in a system without regulation.

  3. Workers necessarily get exploited and companies will not hear these grievances unless they are required by regulation to do so.

Naturally, in a system with no regulation and thus more competition, for a monopoly to take root would be far more difficult than merely adhering to government regulation and getting on the good side of the one big monopoly.

Secondly, if a worker has grievances, such a worker has several other competitors for which he could work. Besides, we already established that an anarcho-capitalist system prescribes private ownership of property and the means of production – in other words, precisely the private rights that we are without in a centrally controlled or regulated economy. The law in such a system would not collapse, merely the system whereby the government determines law by its own decree and interpretation of the law.

Thirdly, since all workers privately own the means of their production and the fruits of their labour, exploitation can not occur without mutual consent. This is not the case in a regulated system, where you are often forced to belong to a labour union or pension plan against your will or better judgement. Again, the end does not justify the means.


Would this not then, put the corporations into the position of power known as the State? If they are creating, enforcing, and interpreting law, as well as controlling currency (and said value), creating and enforcing policies regarding individuals, does this not make the corporations a government by default?


It simply cannot, because there are no regulations which would grant sanctity or immunity to any one controlling agency. Any such a state would have to remain in place by remaining the most cost effective and delivering the best possible service for the price we as individuals are voluntarily contributing, amidst competition from other suppliers.

We have already seen that – contrary to the interpretation here – anarcho-capitalism is not about the abolishment of individual rights. Instead of promoting one agency to protect individual rights, anarcho-capitalists promote the competition of several such agencies to provide this service.

The poor will actually become poorer, and everyone knows that poverty breeds crime, so they will now be wide open for further victimization, by default. We had might as well close the poor communities in, and spray paint a giant bullseye and an "Open for Pillaging" sign on the walls.

Again, several flawed assumptions in this paragraph, namely:
  • The poor will become poorer.

  • Everyone knows that poverty breeds crime.

  • The poor will get pillaged by the wealthy.


The poor cannot become poorer. You can't take something away from someone who has nothing.

There is no direct link between socio-economic circumstances and crime. There is more evidence to suggest a link between innate intelligence and criminal activity, and broken homes and criminal activity, than between socio-economic circumstances and crime. Everyone simply does not agree on what causes crime and it is misleading to suggest this. It is mere speculation at best.

This paragraph suggests that the wealthy have nothing better to do with their time than to pillage the poor. It is suggested that the poor are lead to crime due to their socio-economic circumstances. If this were true, we would have to hold the converse to be true, namely that desirable socio-economic circumstances would completely get rid of crime. This implies that the wealthy – with advantageous socio-economic circumstances – would not be criminals. Since the wealthy would be the only class who is not inside the closed poor communities, they are the only class who would be in a position to pillage the poor. But then, the supposed cause of the criminal intent of the wealthy is non-existent, because they are in comfortable socio-economic circumstances.

I believe the contradictions are clear.

For all of the complaints about government restrictions on businesses, I read them while shaking my head. Let's look at these restrictions, minimum wage, any business complaining about minimum wage is an admission of guilt, of sorts, of wanting to pay employees less than the minimum amount.

This implies that minimum wage is determined objectively and fairly. For a business to complain about minimum wage is not an admission of anything.

In economies where labour laws are stringent, we find that it is more difficult to find work. This is the case in South Africa, were the desperately poor are not allowed to be hired legally by a business who honestly can't afford minimum wage. A bad job is better than no job. Minimum wages and labour laws keep a large contingent of people outside of the labour market.

If we look to history, what we see is that excessive poverty, plus excessive wealth equals market meltdown.

At what level does wealth become excessive? I can understand that any level of poverty is excessive, but certainly the precise definition of wealth as the state of having a plentiful supply of material goods and money implies excess.

This is actually an admission of guilt: labourers want a plentiful supply of material goods and money by virtue of the fact that they do not understand how someone who works smarter instead of harder is more wealthy. They see surplus, and they want some of that surplus, by nook or by crook. This is a logical fallacy based on the notion of positive rights.

In economics, excessive wealth is an amount of wealth that is accumulated by a person or group that goes so far above the normal amount of wealth it can no longer reasonably be used to purchase items, and thus, sustain an economic market. In other words, the uber-wealthy can only buy so many products, and when they stop buying products because they already have everything, their wealth becomes useless, thus excessive.

Yet more contradictions. In a society where the majority of people live in poverty and the minority is wealthy, any amount of wealth is above the normal level of wealth.

It is also a misnomer to suggest that money in the bank is useless or excessive. We all know how money in the bank contributes to keeping inflation low, because the money supply is down. Less inflation means that the poor do not become poorer (for lack of a better expression), because the value of their money doesn't drop. It follows that a society with the excessively wealthy is actually supporting those in excessive poverty, even if they never spend all their wealth, because they support the overall value of currency.

Historically speaking, those who earned unthinkable amounts of money on their own steam actually dispersed their wealth in reasonable ways before they passed away. Andrew Carnegie is perhaps the most famous example. Bill Gates is another such an example, as is his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

If the poor don't have enough money to continue putting currency into the market, and the wealthy have nothing to buy, what you have is a market failure

Market failure results when optimal allocation of a resources is not attained. It is important to note the difference between optimal allocation and mere allocation as in sharing among everyone with a need for that resource.

In some cases, market failure is a result of minimum wages. Because employers are expected to pay x amount for wages, regardless of what the market demand for the performed labour is, we have a supply of labour without a demand for that labour. This is a market failure, because labour is a resource which is not allocated optimally. Labour is shared, as in allocated indiscriminately, without giving heed to supply and demand.

It is thus a misnomer that market failure implies that a resource like money is hogged by one particular group of a society, because the opposite does not necessarily imply optimal allocation of that resource. Market failure implies an allocation of resources which is not optimal, and has nothing to do with the wealthy with nothing to buy, or the poor with no money to spend.

Because of the law of supply and demand, the prices of goods and services would fluctuate. This means that such an equilibrium, where the poor have nothing to spend and the wealthy have nothing to spend on, is not an undesirable nor permanent state. It also does not imply a market failure.

Either that, or the people pushed into poverty will not try to "climb ladders" but rather stage a revolution, and put a stop to it, anyway.

And cause everyone to be poor. Revolutions like these merely put a stop to wealth, and not to poverty. The good kind of revolution is the kind that takes an economy away from centralised regulation towards a free market. The examples are too many to list. For recent examples, start with Poland and Ireland. For older examples, start with Germany and Austria.

Capitalism should never, under any circumstances, exist without the checks and balances of a State. Which is why Anarchists oppose both State and Capitalism, because the two are linked at the hip.

Actually capitalism and the notion of a state as a controlling enterprise are irreconcilable. To suggest that they are joined at the hip testifies of ignorance with regards to the role of the state and a basic definition of capitalism.

There is also a clear contradiction in claiming to be an anarchist, who calls for the abolishment of the state, and then calling for the regulation of an economic practice like capitalism by a state-like entity. The closest anarchism has come to answering this question is with the minarchism movement, which acknowledges that we do need a state. Kinda doesn't make it anarchy then, which explains why they called it something else.

"No gods, no masters. Against all authority"

While sloganeering like this is likely to impress Che Guevara fans, it is irrational to claim that capitalism should be regulated, then claiming that one is against any gods or masters or authority.

If capitalism is to be regulated, it implies an authority that could regulate it. What makes one an anarchist then, if one calls for such regulation? Isn't a capitalist by definition an anarchist?

25 September 2008

Interview with Lerue Delashay

Lerue Delashay
Lerue Delashay is a Los Angeles based composer who specialises in ominous soundscapes. His multifaceted career kicked off with a stint as the keyboard player in the symphonic metal band Theatre of the Macabre.

Since then, he has written and performed the film scores of several films, including The Homecoming, Book of Lore and Dead Men Do Tell Tales. In addition to his film scores, he also released several excellent solo albums of brooding, introspective neo-classical and ambient compositions.

With the release of the latest Lerue Delashay album, The Cycle of Fifths, Lerue was kind enough to grant The Necro Files an interview.


NF: First things first. Your new album, "The Cycle of Fifths", was mastered by Hollywood engineer John Rodd. How would you describe your working experience with him?

Lerue: John is an extremely professional Engineer who was very proficient in his craft and had a wonderful ear for bringing out the richness and character of the music. His vast experience in Mixing and Recording Classical and Orchestral film music helped him to bring the most out in my compositions, and I was very fortunate that he was interested in working together.

NF: Would you name 5 of your favourite composers?

Lerue: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Peter Ilyach Tchaikovski, Igor Stravinski, Alfred Schnittke.

NF: Could you name some of your favourite compositions?

Lerue: Degas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Verdi - Requiem Mass.
Wagner - The Flying Dutchman Overture, Ride of the Valkeries, Ring of the Nebilinglund cycle.
Tchaikovski - Marche Slav, Pathetique Symphony.
Holst - The Planets cycle.
Orff - Carmina Burana.
Stravinski - The firebird, Rite of Spring.
Schnittke - String Quartet series.

NF: You recorded a metal album (A Paradise of Flesh & Blood, with Theatre of the Macabre). Do you still enjoy metal?

Lerue: On occasion, though I tend towards the nostalgic music that I grew up with when listening to metal, and have not kept up on current music.

NF: Have you ever been ostracised due to your beliefs? Does it bother you either way?

Lerue: My beliefs are my own, I tend to not wear them as a badge and therefore do not become a martyr.

NF: Besides being an accomplished classical composer and an accomplished solo artist, you also worked with CD 1334. Please describe your working experience with the original Christian Death members?

Lerue: CD 1334 was an interesting experience, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to play music that I had listened to as a young man. They had a great sense of dramatic imagery and the music still had an impressive sound, which brought to the stage made for many wonderful performances.

NF: Recently, you've composed some film scores. Is this something you particularly enjoy, or do you just do it to pay the bills?

Lerue: Certainly, I do enjoy creating music for film, and I have a deep passion for writing music which accompanies the drama and action that unfolds as the movie tells its story.

NF: How did you learn music theory? Did you have formal training or did you teach yourself?

Lerue: I have had no formal training, and a majority of my acquired knowledge has come from my personal studies of harmony, counterpoint and Orchestration. I have been approached by an accomplished Composer who studied for twelve years at the Rome Conservatory who wished to tutor me on advanced techniques though, and so my studies with him will commence shortly.

NF: Pirates or ninja?

Lerue: Books.

NF: What would Cthulhu do?

Lerue: Let me try and write my favourite Quote from Lovecraft.

"The most merciful thing in the world, I believe, Is the inability of the human mind to correlate its contents. We live on a placid isle of tranquillity amidst the black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each striving in their own direction, have hitherto harmed us little. But one day, they shall open up such terrifying vistas, and of our place therein, that we shall either go mad from the blinding light, or stumble forth into the dawn of a new dark age"

I memorized this quote for its elegant structure and divine meaning. Lovecraft was certainly more than a pulp writer, and his style to this day still draws me in.

I would like to express my gratitude to Lerue Delashay for taking time from his busy schedule to grant me this interview. Thanks very much!

External Links


Private property is theft, personal property is fine

That awkward moment when reality meets your ideology. Some anarcho-communist is having a fanny wobble because informal settlers got evicted ...