@ Action News

Argon -- Editor
Ba'ar -- Associate Editor

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Excitement lacking over ATP's next "challenge"

Much to the probably dismay of the anti-centaur ATP group, there has been little discussion of their next battle against the centaur community. Much fanfare was made of the snowball fight held last week. The ATP spokeswallaby, Morticon, made many statements of his group's superiority to centaurs and held planning and strategy sessions, all to show up for the battle unprepared and his group in disarray. In spite of this, they fought to the centaurs to a draw only by having a larger number of members and using somewhat unorthodox methods to do so.

After the battle, the centaurs went back to their regular routines of enjoying the company of one another and their friends, centaurs for the most part are sociable folks, and have shown little concern over the ATP's next move. Argon, local centaur, was heard to say, "Eh, Morticon leads his little congregation by encouraging their fear and ignorance. It's a shame that he can make that group think an entire race of individuals is "bad" by encouraging their prejudices and hatred. Still, I suppose being that ignorant, the ATP members are happy to congregate and feel that they are wanted and somehow useful, even if their actions and logic is baseless."

Morticon at one time claimed his next challenge to the centaur community will be something cerebral in nature. Although most centaurs are hesitant to call themselves any more intelligent than anyone else, most everyone, regardless of their form or species, considers themselves smarter than Morticon, so if and when his challenge is ever made, the centaurs will enjoy the fun of using their minds and wits to again show the ATP group that they are completely wrong about centaurs.

Vassily is lemury

Vassily, local sloth, wasn't a sloth when this reporter saw him last. He had taken on the characteristics of a lemur. Although Vassily challenge takes on the form of a *giant sloth, the lemur form was a bit unusual.

When asked, Vassily explained that he had tried being "lemurish" to find out why lemurs like zinc. Suri, local lemur, has exibited her obsession with the metal, and Vassily wondered why she liked it so much. His logic was that if he became a lemur, he might understand what they find so fascinating about zinc.

Leslie, local bunny fairy kid, who hasn't been around much lately and is always a bright spot in the day, noted, "I thought lemurs just like zinc? Kinda like raccoons like shiny stuff?" Vassily noted that even with his lemur form, he still didn't "get" the attraction to zinc.

Later, it was proposed that perhaps it isn't a characteristic of lemurs to like zinc like Suri does, but a characteristic of Suri. Although she reports that lemurs in Madagascar, where her cousin Phoobia lives, operate zinc mines, it isn't known if the other lemurs there share Suri's fascination with the metal.

This reporter's attempts to contact Phoobia for more information were thwarted by Phoobia's entrance into the Secret Madagascar Memorial Hospital. Rumor has it that Phoobia suffered injuries while doing important scientific research involving gravity, a very tall tower and the researcher's rapid deceleration at the tower's base. Once the crater at the base of the tower was filled in, other researchers stepped in and the research continued.

Vassily was not asked to participate in this research as his part-time lemur status wasn't considered scientific enough for the gravity research. As of press time, it is rumored that Phoobia is recovering nicely and doctors hope to have her body cast off and have her back on solid food soon.

*There is a funny commercial with what seems to be King Arthur and his knights in the middle ages talking about how a giant sloth is attacking the customer base. Arthur is asking for advice about how to ward off the sloth. One of the knights suggest building a large catapult to ward it off by throwing something at it. When Arthur asks what should be thrown at it, the knight puts a large burlap bag on the round table. Arthur looks at the bag and its contents and exclaims, "You think we should throw money at it?" It's just a funny commercial and has a sloth in it.

Santa Paws Arrival

Santa Paws.

Attention all Spindizzyians! Santa Paws has decided to take time out of his busy holiday schedule to visit Spindizzy and take holiday gift requests. He will be holding center court in the Rose Garden on Saturday December 17th from 1800 to 2000 MUCK time.

Come join him in this unique holiday experience! Spindizzy residents are encouraged to come as cubs and kits, as the true spirit of the holiday can only be experienced and felt by the littlest ones!

Nesta and DTF to wed

DTF, local wolf, and Nesta, local lioness, announced this week that they are planning to wed. Often seen together in the Rose Garden, D and Ness, are usually together enjoying one anothers' company and are obviously (To this reporter,) deeply in love.

When asked about setting a date for "tieing the knot," DTF chuckled and laughed heartily as he cuddled his beloved. "Nes keeps saying we're already mates, and we are.... but I'm a pest for making it official with all our friends." He smiled and looked tenderly at Nesta. "I want it to be special for my honeylion.

Nesta purred and said, "Quit it before my cheeks burn the blush in."

The couple has yet to set a date but have assured this reporter that it would appear on the eventlist when a date is chosen. @Action News congratulates the happy couple and look forward to the wedding!

The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - Review

NArnia centaur

As I mentioned last week, I figured this would be a movie everyone in SpinDizzy would want to see. I was right. Talking, sentient animals, magic, all from the point of view of people, human children, seeing these things for the first time. Oh yes, did I mention the film have centaurs?

As you might imagine, my interest in the film wasn't seeing a classic work of literature on the big screen, or decoding the alleged Christian allegory. It was to see the centaurs. Hundreds of them all moving and speaking and doing things and looking pretty good doing it.

So here's the story. It's World War II in England. The Nazis are bombing the town the four Pevensie children live in with their mother. Dad is off fighting the war. Mom decides that the town they live in, a suburb of London called Finchley, isn't safe for the kids, so thanks to some sort of "get the kids to safety" program the British start, the four kids are sent to the country side to stay with some old professor and his housekeeper who has her knickers in a knot most of the time.

It's a big old boring house, so one rainy day they decide to play hide and seek. The youngest of the kids, who actually is the best actress in the film, ends up hiding in this big old wardrobe, (A wardrobe is like a piece of furniture that is a closet. It's a just a big wooden box that sits in a room and you can open the doors on it and hang things inside. Years and years ago, putting closets in rooms wasn't an architectural necessity and they stored clothes in wardrobes.) and as everyone knows, finds it's a portal to another world.

As she pops out the back of this wardrobe, she finds her self in a forest that is covered with snow. She wanders around a bit and discovers a gas lamp, like a streetlight, out in the middle of the woods. As she wonders at this object, she hears sounds. We get several quick shots of a pair of hoofed, Digitigrade legs going through the snow until finally, the kid, Lucy, spots the creature behind a tree. She calls it out and it's Mr. Tumnus, the faun. He's "human" from the waist up and a deer or a goat from the waist down. His nose and ears are... well, not human, and certainly not a centaur. Rats. He shyly steps out and is nekkid except for a long scarf. He carries an armful of packages and an umbrella. We never do find out what's with the packages. Lucy seems to take meeting a faun after being transported through a closet into this other world with nary a care, and accepts the faun's invitation to go to his home and have tea. Remember, this takes place with kids from England in a story by a British author.

So she has tea and a visit with Mr. Tumnus and after some plot stuff ends up going back into the wardrobe and, after a visit of what seems to be several hours, (The movie is pretty slow through about the first 1/3,) returns to the house to find she hasn't been missed as no time at all has passed back on earth.

Lucy tells her siblings of her adventures in Narnia and they don't believe a word of it. D'uh, as though they did and the story could move on. So late that night, Lucy gets up and heads back to the wardrobe. The younger of her older brothers, who is portrayed as a rat, and for good reason, follows her. Lucy goes through the wardrobe to Narnia, and Edmund (I think,) follows a few minutes later. Lucy wanders one way, Edmund the other and he runs into Jadis, the White Witch, who introduces herself to the kid as Queen of Narnia. The kid takes the bait and there are more plot things.

So both the kids end up back home and Lucy tells the other siblings she was in Narnia again. Edmund, who was there, narcs her out saying he didn't go, (Well, he met the queen and, well he had his reasons,) and poor Lucy is made to look like a fool.

Blah blah blah, more stuff happens and all four kids end up though a really bizarre series of events in the wardrobe and what do you know? They all pop out the back in Narnia. It's still covered with snow, so the oldest brother, Peter, reached back into the closet and gets a bunch of coats for them. This is the first indication we get that it's cold there. Up to now, no one shivered, no condensation when they breathed, the faun was walking around with nothing but a scarf and not seeming to mind it.

So, they all go to meet Mr. Tumnus. He's gone. So they find a note telling why and they they wander a while longer. By this time, my popcorn is gone and I have yet to see any centaurs! They end up meeting a beaver and his wife who eventually take them to meet Aslan. Oh, along the way, Edmund turns up missing, so the reason to see Aslan is to find him.

After a really cool chase and crossing of a frozen river, and plenty of funny interaction with the beavers, oh, and meeting Santa Claus, they end up at this large encampment. According to the beavers, Narnia is planning for war, and this seems to be the place where forces are gathering. Aha! Centaurs at last!

The first centaur we see is a large male on a hill sounding a horn as the kids and beavers arrive. Now, the centaurs are all CGI. I know several real centaurs who were approached about being in the film, I myself was measured and had some motion studies on me done for the movie, (Hey, it bought me an HD TV and paid to have the roof on my home replaced,), but they decided it'd be cheaper and less trouble to do them with CGI. So, here is our first view of a CGI Narnia centaur. Seen from the side as he sounded the horn, it seemed that he might have been rendered anatomically correct in some aspects. Just in silhouette and certainly not in an offensive manner. You kind of had to look to see anything. (Well, ok I was curious how detailed they were going to make the centaurs and that was an obvious benchmark.)

This centaur was one of only two I saw without armor. But both of them suffered from what I call Hercuxena syndrome. A thick growth of hair at the equine / human "blend", and a growth of the equine coat above that up the human torso. Far more hairy than I think is natural, but these centaurs were a bit more "horse-like" in appearance than most centaurs I know. You know, horsey ears, a flat face somewhat elongated towards the nose and mouth like the face of a horse. But his movement was natural and as the camera panned around, we see a whole camp of fauns, leopards, tigers, some badgers, a couple of brown or black bears as I recall, griffons, in fact, it looked like the Rose Garden. The centaurs for the most part were in armor, which hid most of the human and equine skin, so there wasn't much to be animated but the movement of the armor, the equine legs and of course the tails.

There were female centaurs here as well, smaller than the males, (So that seems to be a given in most centaur societies, ) who were archers. Being smaller than the males, their strength was in their torso and arms apparently. Their arms were free and they carried their quivers on their equine flank rather than over their shoulders. The larger male centaurs were armored with metal on their torsos and had a flat plate protecting their commons (That area between the blend and equine chest,) and equine chest. Some had upper cuisse, knee and lower greaves armor on their legs and wore helments. Some carried swords while others carried lances. The portions of their bodies that weren't protected by metal armor were covered by what appeared to be leather. There were different pieces that were strapped or belted on and hung just low enough to see the lower sides of the centaurs and their legs. This revealed that there were a large variety of coloration of the equine coats, although all the human aspects seemed to be caucasian. The fauns were armored too, in fact most everyone had armor so there were a lot of human "shapes" getting ready, it was hard to tell who was what. Oh, I saw no children in the encampment. Well, they were preparing for battle.

It was nice to see a large number of female centaurs. And yes, their armor allowed the female attributes of their human aspect to show in the way their armor was fitted, and they had far mor human looking faces than most of the males. Heh, made me wonder what the lovely Mavra would look like in armor. Ah well, I prefer her to dress as she does. Shows off the best aspects of her human and equine aspects... ahem, well, back to the movie.

As the kids are led through the camp to Aslan, Lucy is looking at all the centaurs with curiosity. Her brother, Peter, the oldest, says, "I bet you look strange to them too." And with that they are at the tent of Aslan.

Aslan is of course, a lion. Apparently a pretty large one. He too is CGI, and for the most part looks very very nice. His movements look accurate but as he usually moves slowly I suppose he was easier to animate. I found problems once or twice with his mane, which was certainly a nice one, but there are times when the hair just didn't seem to move right. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, but something was. It didn't happen often and was easy to over look after a while. I couldn't get over the way his mouth moved when he spoke though. it just didn't look right. The other "talking animals" had mouths that were more human shaped than "animal shaped", and again for the most part, looked believable. Aslan had a number of full from close-up shots as he spoke, and although his voice was good, the mouth was built too realistically to accurately "mouth" the words he was saying. Not to say it was a terrible thing, just "off" enough to make me notice it.

So the lion talks to the kids and tells them how they have to save Narnia thanks to a prophecy. Ealier Santa had given them each a weapon, swords, knives, bows and arrows and some healing potion, (Which should have been used later but wasn't to add another 30 minutes to the movie. Eventually Edmund returns and there's more plot stuff, and they all prepare for this battle. Oh, there's some sub-plot stuff going on, and a funny scene with Phillip the horse, but it's all about waiting for the big battle when we see more centaurs in action.

So, yada yada yada... stuff happens and it's time for the battle. It is here were some scenes suffer due to the CGI. There is a scene of some griffins diving out of the sky that just pixilated itself all over my popcorn. But to see hundreds and hundreds of centaurs, ready to fight evil and be good "good guys", civilized, intelligent, and on the side of right, was a great thing. As the battle progressed we got to see the centaurs gallop and turn and fight and the interaction of human and equine aspects all blended together and moving as one. It was really really cool!

Ok, if you don't know how this ends you must be living under a rock, but I'll leave the mystery intact for you. Hopefully, this film will show centaurs to be sympathetic characters and will encourage the movies to have more of them. Also, as a "furry" movie, it sheds a good light on anthropomorphic animals, and there are plenty of them. Well, not really anthro, although the beavers walk on two legs a lot, mostly it's just talking animals. As a side note, with the possible exception of the first centaur's "anatomical correctness", this movie is family friendly in that regard and there's nothing to be seen.

So. The CGI work is very good. There's a scene where the beavers have to swim and when they get out of the water their wet fur looks very realistic. Although some of the CGI isn't as good as I'd have hoped for in a perfect film, it's certianly the best centaur work I've seen. Although the Hercuxena Syndrome gave me problems, over all I give the CGI design and animation a high score.

Lastly, the Christian allegory that this movie is supposed to represent. I didn't really see it to be honest. True, all the talk of it made me aware Aslan was supposed to be Jesus and his "returning from the dead" a parallel to Christ's resurrection, Alsan isn't the first hero to show up out of the blue when needed, Superman does that all the time. Nor is his resurrection all that unusual. The film many see as a parallel to this one, The Lord of the Rings, wasn't called a Christian allegory when Gandalf returned from the dead after falling through the Mines of Moria and being "killed" (?) by the Balrog. Aslan himself explains how he came back, and it was "deep magic", not faith or Christianity. Well, on the surface to the uninitiated viewer like me. I suppose one could scratch the surface of the story and find most anything you wanted. And the fact that C. S. Lewis wasn't shy about his beliefs adds credence to that theory. But, hey! There isn't a single centaur in the bible, so at least they aren't part of that parallel, and if it hadn't been for the centaurs I wouldn't have been in the theatre.

So, how do I rate this movie from 1 - 10, 1 meaning it is the suck and 10 meaning it has a lot of centaurs that look good and are good guys? D'uh! Go see the film!

In Step With: Angelbear


This week, we chat with Angel_bear, local 'celestial ursine'.

Angel_Bear has arrived.

Ba'ar smiles "Welcome Angel, and thanks for helping me with the interview."

Angel_Bear nods. "You're welcome."

Ba'ar growls, "Okay let's start. Our readers know about you and some have even met you 'in the pelt' as it were. For one thing, how long have you been here in Spindizzy?"

Angel_Bear says, "Off and on, I'd say since 1999." Ba'ar growls, "So what brought you to Spindizzy-other than your wings of course. *grin*"

Angel_Bear says, "I was on several MUCKs at the time, more then than I'm on now. Spindizzy was in its infancy, and needed some building done to it."

"What attracted me to SpinDizzy is its characters," says Angel_Bear, "The place actually has a well-defined rogues gallery."

Ba'ar grins, "I've also found that there's something special about Spindizzy....the culture..you could say...that sets it apart from other realms."

"I guess you could say that," says Angel_Bear, "The central room, the Rose Garden, lends itself better to roleplay more than FurryMUCK's West Corner of the Park."

Angel_Bear says, "There seems to be more happening there."

Ba'ar nods, "Now then. I understand you're an angel. Were you always one?"

Angel_Bear says, "Yeah."

Ba'ar growls, "Do angels require special training or is it strictly 'on the job'?"

"On the job," says Angel_Bear, "A lot of it is observing other people. And observing is what I do well."

Ba'ar growls, "What things are angels assigned to do?"

"Well, I think in particular of Lenny, the raccoon angel," says Angel_Bear, "He trains pets to save their owners before they're even born. And goes to help them when their big moment comes."

Ba'ar nods.

Angel_Bear says, "Heaven Scent the skunk angel works in this shopping mall. I can't figure out what exactly she does there in particular. Maybe security."

Ba'ar nods, "I've heard about the 'Wild Angels' group. Do you still have contact with them?"

"I'm trying to revive the comic strip with them," says Angel_Bear, "We have all the equipment we need to upload comics, but we're having plotting problems right now."

Ba'ar growls, "So what are the advantages of being an angel? What are the disadvantages?"

Angel_Bear says, "The powers a typical angel would have are a cross between Mighty Mouse and Casper the Friendly Ghost."

"I do quite a bit of flying here, and the skies are built for it," says Angel_Bear, "It's not instantaneous, like it is in FurryMUCK. It's not supposed to be."

Ba'ar growls, "So what are the disadvantages of being an angel?"

"Having to explain why God does like he does," says Angel_Bear, "It's embarrassing, sometimes." Ba'ar nods , "So what's a typical day like for you-or is there such a thing?"

"Well, I don't come to this MUCK very often," says Angel_Bear, "Much time is spent accompanying my operator and trying to brainstorm with him about comics."

"It's tough work," says Angel_Bear, "Too many of what I think are good ideas are thrown out because they're not great, earth-shattering ideas."

Angel_Bear says, "And it's tough keeping my artist's mind on track."

Ba'ar growls, "So who do you admire the most (and I think I have an idea as to 'Who' ;-D)?"

"Yes, you do," says Angel_Bear, "I have to admire the Savior for his coolness and his focus, if nothing else."

Ba'ar growls, "So what are your plans for the future?"

Angel_Bear says, "I want to get the comic strip going again, on a regular basis, and we'll see where it goes from there."

Ba'ar smiles, "What secret fact or desire about you would surprise our readers?"

"I'm not out to impress people, or at least not through what I own or buy," says Angel_Bear, "I'm a big believer in buying devices for the job they have to do and nothing else."

Ba'ar nods, "In closing, do you have any words of wisdom for our readers?

Angel_Bear says, "I do remember this one part of Scripture where it says that even a fool, when he keeps silent, is thought to be wise. I can't emphasize that enough."

Ba'ar grins, "And conversely when he opens his mouth he removes all doubt?"

Angel_Bear says, "When you talk to a fool, make sure he's not doing the same thing."

Ba'ar nods, "Good advice. Now then. That concludes our interview. Thanks alot for helping me out."

Angel_Bear nods. "Thanks."

Angel_Bear has left.

Bearing Up

Bearing Up logo.

Welcome to the latest edition of Bearing up, the advice column where Ba'ar (That's me!) has answers to your most challenging questions.

Dear Bearing Up:
What's a sure way to give Morticon nightmares?
- Argon

Dear Argon:
Strap him in a seat and make him OD on Narnia.

Dear Bearing Up:
How does Vixie maintain her cuteness?
- T. iresta

Dear T. Iresta:
It just comes naturally to her.

Dear Bearing Up:
What do you think of holiday fruitcake?
- Baker

Dear Baker:
I try to think of that holiday non-favorite as little as I possibly can.

Dear Bearing Up:
What's a good thing to give a SEDer this year?
- Santa

Dear Santa:
A lump of coal will do nicely.

Dear Bearing Up:
Is Santa Claus real?
- Leslie

Dear Leslie:
No, but SANTA PAWS is.

Dear Bearing Up:
The SED / Taurist snowball fight was reported as ending in a draw. Is this true?
- Rocko Wallaby

Dear Rocko Wallaby:
No, the Taurists won. That the snowball fight was reported as a draw was just SED propaganda.

Dear Bearing Up:
What's a good gift to give George Lucas this year?
- J. Knight

Dear J. Knight:
Give him a DVD of The Star Wars Holiday Special!

Remember possums (to steal a term from Dame Edna ;-D), if you have any questions,please page mail me (Ba'ar) online or send mail to baar.bear@gmail.com. Thanks.

Weekly Survey

Ba'ar Greetings Everyone. The @Action News survey for this week is.... What's your favorite holiday food? (For the record, mine has to be either egg-nog or freshly made cookies).

  • Tanuki barks, "My answer used to be pumpkin pie, Ba'ar, but nowadays, it's turkey."
  • Argon says, "For the survey: Lightly carmeled fresh popcorn."
  • Wind-Dancer says, "Home-made fudge"
  • Nesta purrs, "I think my favorite would be gingerbread cookies and a nice mug of egg nog would be my favorite."
  • Kri chirps, "Toot sweets!"
  • Gina_Doberman says, "Pumpkin pie!"
  • Leowulf says, "Mom's chocolate chip cookies."
  • Mouser hisses, "Mincemeat. How many desserts do you know that are made out of meat?"
  • Eliahn yips, "Fudge."
  • Gilead chirps, "I like hibachi shrimp best."
  • Theon'drae croons softly, "Pizza."

The "Eventlist" Crystal Ball

Each week @Action News will print the "Eventlist" notices here. This list will be accurate as of press time, but be sure and check it during the week. Activities and events can be proposed, rescheduled or event cancelled for all sorts of reasons. So stay "in the know" by checking Eventlist often.

To get a list with details as shown here, enter eventlist #week #long.

SpinDizzy Event List
The following events are scheduled within the next 7 days:

The following events are scheduled within the next 7 days:

+Number: 1
+Title: [RP] Taurists vs. ATP: Rock Paper Scissors!
+From: Thu 12/15/05 07:30 PM +To: Thu 12/15/05 08:30 PM
+Location: 'rpc', 'ne'
+Age: All
+Event Owner: Morticon
+RSVPs (1): Portia

In the next 'battle' against the Taurists, the ATP will show it can beat them at chance and strategy. The game? Rock paper scissors! A program will be used to make it fair (it will be placed in the proposed location beforehand so that anyone may try it).

Now, just playing rock paper scissors over and over is no fun, so to make it more exciting I will add a new requirement: The game is played 'quietly' such that only the two participants know the outcome. They will then RP it out such they arrive at the same result. For instance, if I picked rock and Argon paper, we might RP it like this:

Morticon sends a huge rock rolling at Argon! Argon unfolds a giant piece of paper, capturing the rock and saving himself.

Other items may be substituted for rocks, paper, or scissors providing they are equivalent. If you do not RP the result, then you automatically lose! I hope we have all sorts of fun making up silly mini RPs (it could span several lines)! :)

As always, don't take this too seriously. And yes, neutral parties are welcome to come observe. Hope to see you there!

+Number: 2
+Title: Santa Paws is Coming To Town!
+From: Sat 12/17/05 06:00 PM +To: Sat 12/17/05 08:00 PM
+Location: Type 'Rose' from anywhere.
+Age: all
+Event Owner: Ba'ar
+RSVPs (0): RSVPing on this event is disabled

Santa Paws is coming to Spindizzy! He'll be here this Saturday from 1800 to 2000 MUCK time. Come and join us!

This week in history

Back issues from a year and more ago. Remember when...?

Newspaper Circulation Report

@Action News, SpinDizzy's weekly paper, apparently has a fairly healthy circulation, so we figured we'd show just how healthy it is.

Each week, as long as there's room. I'll show the 'hit graph' for the @Action News website.

Graphic of @Action News website hits.

The Doze Garden

After being tossed in the Rose Garden Fountian, DTF shakes himself dry, causing Argon and Andrew to use towels to dry themselves. This resulted in wet towels which Argon hung over a park bench resulting in SpinDizzy's first public hanging, and the longest cartoon caption in the history of the Doze Garden Comics.

The Doze Garden Comic Strip

Guidelines and Procedures for Submitting Articles

Submitting a story or artwork for @Action News is easy! Just send it to newspaper@spindizzy.org or qmail or page Argon, Carl or SDN about it.
@Action News is published weekly on or after 12:01 AM Eastern Time on Sunday. Most any type of story or article will be accepted. Generally, we'd prefer things that aren't out and out lies or flames about other folks, and have a basis in the reality of SpinDizzy. Things that occur in public areas are fair game. The things reported don't have to have actually happened, (any more than anything that happens here does) but make sure you don't overstep the social boundaries and rules of interaction that we have. These are pretty broad guidelines, but we expect good sense to apply.

Thanks! Argon, Editor @Action News