Ian McKellan On “Da Vinci Code” Controversy

The Da Vinci Code has obviously caused quite a bit of controversy even before its theatrical release, but of course that has increased exponentially now that the film is in theaters. A couple of weeks ago Matt Lauer interviewed some of the actors during the movie’s debut at Cannes, with at least one surprising response:

[Matt Lauer asks] “There have been calls from some religious groups, they wanted a disclaimer at the beginning of this movie saying it is fiction because one of the themes in the book really knocks Christianity right on its ear, if Christ survived the crucifixion, he did not die for our sins and therefore was not resurrected. What I’m saying is, people wanted this to say ‘fiction, fiction, fiction’. How would you all have felt if there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie? Would it have been okay with you?”

There was a pause, and then famed British actor Ian McKellen [Gandalf of Lord of the Rings], piped up:

“Well, I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it’s true, not that it’s factual, but that it’s a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they’ve seen it.”

With the camera focused on McKellen, one could hear a distinctly nervous laugh in the background, seeming to come from either actor Tom Hanks or director Howard. McKellen’s stunning bit of blasphemy is likely to test the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

I just had to post this and give props to Sir Ian McKellen for having the balls to say what he really thinks.

Back From Cali

Blue Angels knife edge pass
Sorry for the lack of posts for the last week or so. I meant to make a quick post letting everyone know that I’d be away, but I forgot. Anyway, I’m back from the West Coast; I had to fly out to Point Mugu, California again to do some work on some aircraft out there. The weather was beautiful, and apparently we were the purveyors of the good weather, as it had been unseasonably rainy before we arrived.

I have lots of photos to share from California, as well as a bunch from the Andrews Air Force Base Joint Service Open House airshow held a week ago. The picture above is from that show and is probably one of the best shots I’ve ever gotten at an airshow. Even with a fast shutter speed and motor drive, I have yet to capture a knife edge pass like this before, and even if I could get such a shot again, there’s no guarantee that I’d be sitting in the right spot, etc. etc. Obviously, I’m quite excited about this… 🙂

I’ve posted a bunch more pictures from the air show at the DrikoLand Gallery and am slowly posting them in a flickr set as well. I’ll make another post once I add pictures from the West Coast. Let me know what you think!

Hopefully this week I’ll be able to catch up and start posting more regularly…

Google Has Been Busy…

GoogleGoogle has been busy in the past week or so, unveiling several new sites as well as an update to Google Desktop. Here’s a rundown…

Google Notebook is a Firefox extension that allows you to “browse, clip, and organize information from across the web in a single online location that’s accessible from any computer.” I can see it really helping if you’re doing research on a topic and want to just capture snippets of text and images from a bunch of sites, instead of using a bunch of bookmarks.

TechCrunch points out that Google Notebook is a direct competitor to del.icio.us, but without the all-important tagging feature that makes it so useful. However, Google Notebook does a reasonably good job of organizing both text and images, and of course being present in Google search results might make it easier to access items than through del.ico.us. I’ll have to play with this some more to see if it’s really easier than conventional bookmarking and/or using del.icio.us…

Google Co-op will take a little more exploring before I really get it. According to Google,

It’s about sharing expertise. You can contribute your expertise and benefit when others do the same. Help other users find information more easily by creating “subscribed links” for your services and labeling webpages around the topics you know best.

Google Blogoscoped goes into more detail, but I’m not so sure that I’m finding this useful yet.

Google Trends gives you all sorts of options to “compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics” by entering up to five topics at once. For example, Micro Persuasion has a list of 25 Things I Learned On Google Trends. This is a very cool way of utilizing Google’s vast amount of search data, but for me personally it’s more of a curiousity than anything else at the moment…

Finally, Google updated Google Desktop to Version 4. The biggest change that I could see was being able to undock items from the Sidebar and the introduction of Google Gadgets. This is obviously suspiciously similar to Yahoo Widgets, which have far more to choose from at the moment. However, I find them to be a bit memory-intensive, so I may see how Google compares in that respect.

OK, I think that wraps things up (for now); time to explore these things further. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and have found any interesting uses for them or have any experiences to share…