Friday, May 07, 2010

Camera Obscura: Trouble Edition - Piranha 3D; Machete; A Gory Double Feature; The Wilhelm Scream Retires?

The last few weeks have been too full of bad news for so many - untold destruction in the Gulf, flooding destruction in Nashville, Icelandic volcanoes, inept evildoers in Time Square, inept politicos babbling and lawmaking, and then there are those daily woes of so many of us scuttling about the planet who become endlessly caught in struggles either brief or prolonged. It seems trouble need be written as Trouble.

Even I, your humble chronicler, had a wee misfortune recently as my nice shiny sedan was rear-ended by a negligent driver. None were hurt, thankfully, though I also noticed yesterday at that same bothersome intersection a wreck had occurred so massive a LifeStar helicopter was forced to land on the highway.

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble.

As the late, great Frank Zappa sang: "There's no way to delay that trouble comin' every day."

Or as the line in the movie Body Heat goes : "Sometimes the shit comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat."

Well, perhaps if we peruse some upcoming movies, we can poke a bit of fun at trouble --

Like the utterly silly "Piranha 3-D", where we find former "Jaws" alum Richard Dreyfuss back in the waters of baaaad fish and addle-brained tourists. (Thankfully no piranha are threatening Nashville, despite earlier reports) --

Lawmakers in Arizona received a very special trailer for the Robert Rodriguez' new movie, "Machete", a Grade-B drive-in style action tale. I love such movies and where else can one see Danny Trejo scare the crap out of Robert DeNiro? Since the trailer is somewhat NSWF, you can click here to see it.

Although I find this very, VERY hard to believe, the most-used scream sound effect in motion picture history, termed "the Wilhelm Scream", may be out of the biz, according to this article. The history of the "scream" (often credited to one-time Hee Haw regular Sheb Wooley) is here. And here's a clip of just some of its uses in movies.

Two super gory horror films are on the loose -- the French film "Inside" and the more recent bizarro movie of a mad scientist sewing people together called "Human Centipede". Trailers are here and here (warning - not for the squeamish). If one wanted a mega-gory double feature, these are the current winners. And "Centipede" director Tom Six claims his if the first of a trilogy. (yeah, we need three of those monstrosities).

For a more upbeat finale, who among us has not wondered - "What if Mr. Potato Head Was The Star Of That Movie?" Full article/images here - sample image of Iron Man Potato Head below.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Flood Damage In Middle TN Offers Grim Picture, Music Stars Rally To Help

A map visualizing the widespread and deadly damage from the flooding in Middle Tennessee was presented via Speak To Power:

Steve Ross notes the damage both physically and economically is mind-boggling:

"The economic impact of this disaster is going to be felt throughout the state for some time. The losses in more rural counties, will likely go unnoticed by the majority of the state for even longer. It’s hard for people, particularly city folk (I know I’m one too) to understand the challenges faced by rural Tennesseans. Most have neither the population density, nor the economic diversity to bounce back quickly. Crops don’t grow faster just because you want them to…neither does livestock. That loss of income is going to take a huge toll on these areas."

Tonight, a host of country music stars and many others will aid in fundraising efforts and in offering support which viewers can take part in and many other music events are planned as well - for a complete rundown of the events, click here. Knoxville's WBIR-TV will also simulcast the event tonite.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Disaster In Middle TN Continues

image via The Tennessean

Floods in Middle TN have been a grim force and the devastation has claimed many lives, and there are fears the death toll will climb as flood waters threaten Nashville and surrounding counties - 52 counties are likely to be labeled disaster areas.

I'm sure many readers in Tennessee and beyond would like to help and there's some info on how to do that just below ...

Friends and family in the area are safe as of now, but the cost has been so high for so many.

The Tennessean has a wide range of reports and images here

KnoxViews has more information

Southern Beale recounts a loss very close to home

No Silence Here has info on how you can help

More on how you can help from Nashvillest.

image via Nashvillest

Sunday, May 02, 2010

No End In Sight For Massive Oil Leak in Gulf

No predictions for the oil well blowout in the Gulf offer much other than disaster. The following points to the situation being far worse than first forecast and the long amount of time before repairs can be effected.

"The Gulf of Mexico oil spill may be growing five times faster than previously estimated and is in danger of accelerating out of control, it was claimed yesterday.

Experts said satellite data indicated the oil was gushing from BP’s sunken Deepwater Horizon rig at 25,000 barrels a day. Previous estimates had put the leak at 5,000 barrels a day.

Professor Ian MacDonald, an ocean specialist at Florida State University, said the new estimate suggested the leak had already spread 9m gallons of heavy crude oil across the Gulf. This compares with 11m that leaked from the Exxon Valdez tanker when it hit a reef off Alaska in 1989.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said deteriorating conditions on the sea bed may result in an even greater flow of 50,000 barrels a day, sufficient to produce one of America’s worst ecological disasters.

Experts and officials said their greatest fear was that a disintegration of pipes close to the rig could produce an “unchecked gusher” that would ravage America’s southern coastline.

As the slick slowly drifted towards fragile shorelines from Louisiana to Florida, there was intensified criticism of BP for apparently underestimating the potential scale of the disaster.

The British oil giant faces questions over how much it knew about previous problems with “blowout preventers”, the giant underwater valves designed to shut down oil flow in the event of accidents.

The valves on the rig failed to work after it exploded on April 20. BP technicians have been unable to activate them even though they appear to be undamaged by the blast.

BP has calculated that it might take up to three months to sink a new well that could cut off the flow of the Deepwater Horizon’s oil.

The worst oil spill affecting US waters was caused by a 1979 blowout aboard the Ixtoc, a Mexican rig that discharged at least 130m gallons, 600 miles south of the Texas coast. It took nine months to plug the leak.