Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review, June 30, 2013: World War Z

(Subtitle: An Oral History of the Zombie War)

Madame L asked herself the other day, "Self, what is it with the zombie stuff going through our culture lately?" 

She answered herself, "Self, while I have a few ideas about this, it will take me days and maybe weeks to put them all together."

Meanwhile, Madame L has been reading some books about the possibly upcoming zombie apocalypse, as well as other, non-zombie, post-apocalyptic tales, and will be sharing these with You, Dear Readers, in the weeks to come.

First, though, Dear Readers, why do zombies want to eat our brains? Madame L has no idea but will look up the answer to that question and answer it soon. She hopes you'll enjoy this song* while you're waiting (Lyrics at the bottom of this post).*  Madame L would also like to hear from her Dear Readers about the advantages and disadvantages of staying locked inside a mall, or anywhere else, during the zombie apocalypse. Madame L would also like to hear what her Dear Readers think about whether zombies run fast or slow. Please comment!

Back to topic: "World War Z," which has been made into a movie, is a surprisingly good take on the whole zombie idea. It's so well researched it made Madame L go to the Web to look up some of the terms used, and she was pleased to find that the geographical, historical, cultural, and military references checked out.

But what about plot? Yes, the plot is good, too. Because it's like a procedural or a documentary, some of the normal novelistic ploys are unnecessary, leaving the reader with the impression of reading a very detailed and accurate account of real events, no fake love story or soap-opera-like elements involved. Oh, but, there's violence, as you can well imagine. But it's what you would expect as people try to save their own lives and the lives of their families from the zombie hordes.

Have any of Madame L's Dear Readers seen the movie yet? If so, please share with Madame L and all the other Dear Readers your thoughts on it; and how well it translates the documentary-like tone of the book to the big screen, whether it adds those movie-plot tried-and-trues such as a ridiculous love interests and love scenes, speechifying at critical moments, and the suspenseful wait while the moronic supposed heroes make ridiculous mistakes resulting in the deaths of millions of people, and so on. When Madame L has a chance to watch the movie, she will review it, too. Here's the official trailer:

*And here are the lyrics to the greatest zombie song ever:

Heya Tom, it's Bob, from the office down the hall
Good to see you buddy, how've you been?
Thing have been okay for me except that I'm a zombie now
I really wish you'd let us in
I think I speak for all of us when I say I understand
Why you folks might hesitate to submit to our demand
But here's an FYI: you're all gonna die screaming

All we want to do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise
If you open up the door
We'll all come inside and eat your brains

I don't want to nitpick, Tom, but is this really your plan?
Spend your whole life locked inside a mall?
Maybe that's okay for now but someday you'll be out of food and guns
And then you'll have to make the call
I'm not surprised to see you haven't thought it through enough
You never had the head for all that bigger picture stuff
But Tom, that's what I do, and I plan on eating you slowly

All we want to do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise
If you open up the doors
We'll all come inside and eat your brains

I'd like to help you Tom, in any way I can
I sure appreciate the way you're working with me
I'm not a monster Tom, well, technically I am
I guess I am

I've got another meeting Tom, maybe we could wrap it up
Know we'll get to common ground somehow
Meanwhile I'll report back to my colleagues who were chewing on the doors
I guess we'll table this for now
I'm glad to see you take constructive criticism well
Thank you for your time I know we're all busy as hell
And we'll put this thing to bed
When I bash your head open

All we want to do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise
If you open up the door
We'll all come inside and eat your brains

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What About the Super Moon?

Dear Madame L,

You know that super moon the other night? How could that happen?



Dear Mason,

Madame L is glad you were able to see that!

As you already know, the moon's orbit around the earth isn't exactly like a circle, more like a big oval or ellipse. So sometimes it's closer to us than other times, and when it's really close and also a full moon, that's when we see the super moon. 

Here's a NASA scientist being interviewed about it. She explains why even at its closest the distance from the moon to us is different at different times of the year.  Madame L learned a lot by watching this video, and she thinks you'll enjoy it, too.

That's because two key points in the lunar cycle will coincide early Sunday morning -- the moon will both be a full moon and at its closest point to Earth in the 29.5-day cycle. In recent years, moon watchers have begun using the term "super moon" to describe that occurrence. More coverage Look beyond the sun for skin cancer culprits The perigee -- the name for the point in a lunar cycle when the moon is nearest to Earth -- will occur at 7:11 a.m. Sunday, when the body will be 356,911 kilometers, or 221,774 miles, from Earth.
This time, the moon was just over 220,000 miles from the Earth (about 357,000 kilometers) at its perigee last Sunday morning, June 23. The next time the moon will be that close will be in August 2014.

You might also enjoy NASA's "Science Casts," with short videos about some of the discoveries made by NASA scientists.

Keep on with the questions!


Madame L

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Best-Ever Response to Cease-and-Desist Letter

Dear Readers,

Yes, Madame L is back! And, yes, Madame L knows you have many pressing questions to which she, and she better than anyone else on this planet or even (ahem!) Mars knows the answers.

However, to begin with, instead of answering your burning questions, Madame L wants to give you some humor for the week.

To wit, this example of a most excellent and even humorous and (Madame L believes, but is not positive, since the extent of her so-called legal training consists of reading police/law procedurals plus the occasional "Law and Order," response to a cease-and-desist letter.

Here's the cease-and-desist letter itself:

May 23,2013


Mr. Jeff [sic] Freivald
10 Ridgeview Avenue
West Orange, New Jersey 07052

   Re: Demand to Cease and Desist From Use of Domain Name

Dear Mr. Freivald:

I am the Township Attorney for the Township of West Orange ("Township"). It has come to our attention that, on or about May 13, 2013, you registered and began to use the domain name "" (the "Info Domain"). The Township interprets this action as an effort by you to confuse and conflate the Township's official domain name and Web site with the Info Domain that you maintain.

The use of the Township's name is unauthorized and is likely to cause confustion [sic], mistake or to deceive the public and may be a violation of the Township's federally protected rights. The Info Domain falsely creates the impression that the Township is associated or affiliated with the Info Domain. At a minimum, this action has been taken with constructive knowledge of the Township's name and Web site, and constitutes bad faith use of the Info Domain.

Accordingly, the Township demands that you cease and desist from use, ownership and maintenance of the Info Domain. The Township further demands that, within ten (10) days, the Info Domain be withdrawn from the current registrar, and that you cease all current and future use of the Info Domain, or anything else confusingly similar thereto.

The Township reserves all rights and remedies.

Please be guided accordingly.

Very truly yours,

Richard D. Trenk, Township Attorney 

Here's the Web site that prompted the letter.

And here's the wonderful and even awe-inspiring response:

There! Now, wasn't that funny? Aren't you glad you read all the way through to the end?

Madame L will be back to answering her Dear and Gentle Readers' questions about global warming, the polar caps of Mars, 17-year cicadas, immunization of children, and other such urgent and pressing issues, very very soon.

Please keep those questions coming!

Best wishes,

Madame L