Thursday, January 10, 2008
The owner of a German company is being sued for unfair dismissal - after he fired three non-smoking workers and replaced the with smokers who 'fitted in better'.
They were sacked on the grounds that they would 'interfere with corporate peace', after they requested a smoke-free environment.
Thomas Jensen, the manager of the 10-person IT company in Buesum, told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions.
Germany introduced non-smoking rules in pubs and restaurants on Jan. 1, but Germans working in small offices are still allowed to smoke.
'I can't be bothered with trouble-makers,' Thomas was quoted saying.
'We're on the phone all the time and it's just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It's time for revenge. I'm only going to hire smokers from now on.'
Introducing the Taser mp3 playerTuesday, January 8, 2008
Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of a convenient way to electrocute people while listening to some of your favourite tunes? Well, the answer to your prayers is here.
Taser, the world's leaders in delivering high-voltage shocks to the target of your choice, are releasing a handy all-in-one stun-gun and mp3 player carry case.
The product was unveiled at the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Music Player Holster's mp3 player can hold up to 1GB of music – enough for 150 or so songs – and the C2 stun gun can deliver 50,000 volts into your desired shockee, via a pair of darts. The wires that connect the darts give it a range of up to 15 feet, so you can shock to your heart's content.
While the carry case is a sensible, I-mean-business black, the Taser itself comes in a range of stylish patterns, including a classy leopard print look – perfect for people who want to put the fun back into high-voltage incapacitation devices. Or put the 'cute' back in 'electrocute', we suppose.
So, if you're looking for a perfect present for that music fan/electric shock enthusiast in your life, look no further.
Metro recommends – Songs To Listen To While Tasing Somebody
Electro-Shock Blues – Eels
Danger! High Voltage – Electric Six
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment – The Ramones
Get The Message – Electronic
Twelve Volt Man – Jimmy Buffett
She's Electric – Oasis
Such Current Of Electricity Shall Continue To Pass – Redrum
Shock Treatment – Pizzicato Five
Electricity – Spiritualized
I'm Fried – The Stooges
Monday, January 7, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008; 1:19 AM
Let's face it: Most newspaper comic strips are pretty dull, rehashing, over the past few decades, the same formulas (and often the same characters). That's why comics connoisseurs have been turning to the Internet, where artists can create and publish works that are a little edgier, a little quirkier, and much, much funnier. Here are five favorites. (Click on the images to see them full-size.)
Gamer humor can sometimes be obscure to outsiders, but despite the name of Scott R. Kurtz's strip,PvP(it stands for "player vs. player"), specialized knowledge isn't required to have a good time. The staff of the fictitious PvP Magazine should be recognizable to anyone who has had even minimal exposure to geek culture. Three examples areBrent, who is such a Mac diehard he annoys even other Mac diehards;Francis, a teenager who's never entirely sure if games or girls are more important; andScratch Fury: Destroyer of Worlds, a super-intelligent cat bent on world domination. Throw in occasional appearances from the cartoonist'sfather, and you've got a winner.
Chris Harding is a funny guy. I know this because I've watched his animated cartoonsLearn Self DefenseandMake Mine Shoeboxmore times than I can count, and I still laugh like an idiot every time. Earlier this year Harding turned his considerable skills in illustration, observation, and sarcasm to a strip called  We the Robots, which gives us a world where life evolved from the mechanical, and yet is frighteningly familiar. We the Robots mines the kind of soul-crushing territory that's familiar to Peanuts fans, but his cute, big-headed creations are (mostly) grown-up and share our experiences...or the worst of them, anyway. Laugh so you don't cry? More like laugh so you don't wail in despair.
After surviving just enough higher education to finally get out of school, why in the world would anyone go through graduate studies? According toPhD Comics, that way lies not only madness, butindifferent advisors,interdepartmental rivalries, anexcess of sugary snacks, and, eventually, a trip to thereal world. ("PhD" is also short for "Piled High and Deeper.") Creator Jorge Cham, who has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, knows the graduate world well enough to make fun of everything and everyone in it. He also goes on the road to different universities, where real grad students confirm the misery he depicts, but also remind him (and us) of the reasonswhy they chose to study their fields in the first place.
Let us briefly recount the history of ninjas in black and white comics: In the late 1980s, ninjas were extremely cool. But soon, ninjas were utterly played out. How could this have happened to the dark assassins of the night? That's easy--comic creators made them all mystical and superserious, but forgot about the sheer, simple awesomeness of ninjas. Chris Hastings has not forgotten. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja features a dry, absurdist tone similar to The Tick, but Hastings has generously thrown in pirates, zombies, robots, bears, robot bears, Dracula, and a (repeatedly) resurrected Benjamin Franklin. Nice.
If you like Robot Chicken, you'll be delighted to find that The Perry Bible Fellowship has three things in common with the Adult Swim TV show: (1) The title doesn't tell you anything about the work. (2) The strip uses and subverts many images that are familiar from childhood. (3) No matter how innocuously a strip starts, by the final panel you'll find some kind of horrible (but strangely hilarious) life-or-death struggle...or a joke that ten-year-olds would snicker at. Really, it can go either way. Creator Nicholas Gurewitch uses traditional tools (you know, like pencils and stuff) to create images that are gorgeous, garish, or somewhere in between to transport his readers into his fever dreams.
X-rated comic book exploits end of copyright
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By Marc Horne
PETER Pan is known to generations of children as the boy who never grew up.
But his sweetheart Wendy is depicted in a series of adult situations in a hugely controversial new adaptation of JM Barrie's classic tale.
In the extremely graphic graphic-novel Lost Girls, Pan's demure companion is shown in a serious of erotic trysts.
The illustrated adult book, which depicts Tinkerbell being raped and Wendy being spied on by paedophile peeping toms, has provoked children's campaigners and devotees of the original Barrie fable to demand it be taken off the shelves.
But the author, Alan Moore – who inspired the Hollywood films V For Vendetta and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen – insists he is taking a legitimate stance against censorship.
In 1929, Angus-born Barrie bequeathed all rights of his Peter Pan books to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
This allowed hospital chiefs to prevent the X-rated tome, which has already been published in the US, from being distributed in the UK and the EU. But the copyright expired on January 1, as more than 70 years had passed since the author's death, leaving the hospital helpless to stop Lost Girls, written by Moore and illustrated by his wife Melinda Gebbie, being sold across Britain and continental Europe.
The 112-page hardback, described as the "Kama Sutra of comics", is being distributed by American firm Top Shelf Productions. Its website states: "From January 1, Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls will finally be released in the UK and EU. Get your order in now as the limited supply will likely disappear within a few weeks."
As well as featuring Wendy Darling the book also depicts the "sexual awakening" of Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy from the Wizard Of Oz.
It states: "For more than a century Alice, Wendy and Dorothy have been our guides though Wonderland, Neverland and the Land of Oz of our childhoods.
"Now, like us, these three lost girls have grown up and are ready to guide us again, this time through the realms of our sexual awakening and fulfilment.
"Through their familiar fairytales they share their most intimate revelations of desire.
"Lost Girls is a work of breathtaking scope that challenges the very notion of art fettered by convention."
In the book Wendy is shown meeting Peter Pan and the Lost Boys in a park for sexual encounters.
An adolescent Alice is depicted being molested by an adult abuser, while Dorothy is pictured in compromising situations with a trio of Kansas farm-hands.
Sandra Affleck, a historian who leads Barrie themed tours in his hometown of Kirriemuir, was appalled by the idea of a pornographic Peter Pan.
She said: "This book sounds horrific. It is the complete antithesis of what Barrie thought and put on paper.
"Barrie's work is all about the magic of childhood and this new book is a pollution of that.
"I would support any measures which would stop it appearing on shelves."
Barrie enthusiast and Conservative Kirriemuir councillor Ian Mackintosh added: "I am appalled by the idea of the innocence of the original Peter Pan story being sullied by a seedy work like this."
Charity Children 1st claimed a change in the law was needed to allow Lost Girls and similar works to be made illegal.
A spokeswoman said: "Non-photographic depictions of child sexual abuse, whether cartoons or drawings, may fuel inappropriate feelings towards children and young people and be used to groom children.
"The Westminster Government has recently consulted on whether non-photographic depictions of child sex abuse should be banned, and as a charity dedicated to protecting children, we support this move."
Moore said he was prepared for a backlash against the explicit depictions of underage sex, but felt it was unjustified. He said: "These are not children. They are depictions of children.
"There are two instances of non-consensual sex in Lost Girls.
"They both more or less happen off camera and are both treated with sufficient gravity.
"We (Moore and Gebbie] believe in the absolute freedom of the human imagination as long as you can remember what's real and what's fiction.
"The only people that seem to have a problem distinguishing between reality and fantasy are psychopaths and magistrates."
The veteran graphic novelist stressed the book, set in 1914, was pro-sex but strongly anti-war. "I have been turning on my television and seeing pictur
es of actual, non-fictional children with their arms blown off," he said.
"When you are confronted with that kind of vision on the six o'clock news it makes all these arguments about what is permissible to depict in fiction completely laughable.
"If we can get so upset about lines on paper, but somehow cannot get upset about real flesh and blood then what kind of society are we?"
Despite its controversial themes, Lost Girls has proved to be a critical and commercial success in the US, selling 30,000 copies.
It was named as one of the top 25 best books of the year by New York-based newspaper The Village Voice and the conservative US Today praised its "intelligent writing, intricate plotlines and gorgeous Victorian-style art".
Great Ormond Street Hospital confirmed that its copyright over Peter Pan lapsed from midnight on December 31, but declined to comment on Moore's book.
The full article contains 896 words and appears in Scotland On Sunday newspaper.
Last Updated: 05 January 2008 10:21 PM
Trouble in Tinseltown, kids.
We talked about the possibility of this happening two days ago and now it looks like its actually come true.
NBC will not be broadcasting the Golden Globes, nor will the Hollywood Foreign Press be holding an un-televisied awards show.
Instead, NBC will air a special awards announcement telecast as part of its news department and nothing more:
"It'll now be a news event where the actors can still get all glammed up," a source told [DeadlineHollywood Daily.com] I've not yet received any official confirmation of any of this. But insiders tell me that NBC Universal topper Jeff Zucker and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which bestows the Golden Globes made the decision together to scale everything back.
Apparently this is the "middle ground" NBC execs and the HFPA were hoping to come to over the weekend. The Writers Guild of America announced not long ago that if the Golden Globes were televised, they would picket in front of the theater. Their reason is that they claim that the show serves as a promotion for studios, not to mention a huge cash cow in advertising for NBC, which exclusively broadcasts the event.
Late last week, the Screen Actors Guild announced they would support their union buddies by informing the world that not one of the 70 actors nominated for Golden Globe awards would attend the event. Which means, that the only thing you would hear during the broadcast would be the sound of crickets in an empty theater.
Hearing this, the HFPA was desperately trying to get out of their contract to put the show on the air, in the hopes that the SAG would then allow its actors to attend.
NBC has yet to officially announce this through their channels, but websites are already picking up the DHD post and running with it. Its only a matter of time before its all over the front pages.
Now, everyone's eyes will turn to the Oscars.
The Golden Globe winners will still be announced before the January 22nd date when Oscar Ballots are mailed out to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members. Meaning that the winners of the Golden Globes will still retain their slight advantage at being nominated (and possibly winning) the academy awards broadcast on Feb 24.
That is, provided that the WGA strike is still not going on. If it is, this could also be the death knell for Hollywood's biggest night as several actors have already gone on record saying that they would not cross picket lines.
Things are really starting to heat up, folks. Stay tuned.
Check out the website. http://www.asciimation.co.nz/bender/