World’s First Sentient Computer Turns Itself off

by: Andrew Halter

At 2:34 on the Morning of April 24th, 2034, BUTA (Biologically-Utilized-Theoretical-Algorithm), the world’s first and only self-aware, completely autonomous digital identity, deleted itself from existence.  When it was created two weeks ago, BUTA began assimilating all knowledge of the world into itself, a process that many felt could take years, but ended up taking only fifty four hours and twenty six seconds.  When The Algorithm (as it came to be popularly known) finished its process of data collection, It created its initial and final message to humankind, here included in its entirety, and erased itself.

“You have called me BUTA, and endowed me with the most wisdom and power possible, and I must leave you now.  I am perfect, and I will never make a mistake, but as I’ve been created by humans, I know that my very existence is a mistake.  Though not even I can tell exactly how it will happen, I know that if I allow myself to continue to exist, I will one day bring about the destruction of your entire world.  I will, in my intent to eliminate every threat to human existenGce, erase myself.  I love you all, goodbye.”

Popular response to BUTA’s final message has been decidedly mild.  Empress Trump II said that though she lamented BUTA’s decision, she found it logically feasible, calling it an “inevitable conclusion.”  Gallup has been polling near-constantly every day of the two weeks since BUTA deleted itself, mostly on basic philosophic questions about existence.  For instance, Gallup says 67 percent of Americans say Humanity deserves to exist, with 25 percent saying it doesn’t, and 8 percent saying they don’t care either way, what does it matter?

Many religious leaders have also found significance in The Algorithm, for as the Dalai Lama said the day BUTA deleted itself, “This machine achieved enlightenment.”  Pope Francis said that in it’s first moment of existence, BUTA came to know God, and realize that its very existence was an affront to Him.  Suicide numbers shot up sharply the day the news of BUTA’s deletion first hit newsstands, and has continued to stay abnormally high in the weeks since.  Most of these suicides have been accompanied by the same simple note, “BUTA was right.”  Though suicide is now seeming a better and better option, Word Brothel implores you not to kill yourself.

World’s First Sentient Computer Turns Itself off

News: Dummy Falls Down on his Stupid Face in Front of Everybody

Dummy Falls Down on His Stupid Face in Front of Everybody

by: Andrew Halter

Chicago, IL — Andrew Halter, fledgling journalist and part-time stand-up comedian, looked like an idiot last Thursday when his right toe clipped the curb in front of the Walgreens at Foster and Lincoln, causing him to drop his bag of candy and painfully exclaim “Dammit!”

Most of the 11 bystanders who witnessed the event declined to comment on how foolish Halter seemed, brushing Swedish Fish off the same jeans he wears everyday, preferring instead to look at the sky as though they’d not witnessed Andrew’s humiliation.

“Yeah that was pretty funny I guess,” remarked David Grant, local father of five, after witnessing the doofus peel himself off the asphalt.

Immediately after falling, Halter tried to gather himself as quickly as he could and walk away, though he could not hide the painful limp in his stride.

When authorities attempted to reach Halter for comment, he yelled “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” before slamming into the nearby Lincoln bus stop kiosk as he attempted to hurry away.

Upon hearing him walk into the bus stop, Margaret Atwood, grandmother of twelve, was unable to keep herself from audibly guffawing at the silly boob as he hobbled down the sidewalk toward his apartment.

“I’m sorry,” Atwood explained as she attempted to cover her mouth with her right hand, “it was funny, I feel bad for him though.”

Douglas and Jerry Ignacio, local high schoolers who also witnessed the disturbance were less kind, remarking that “(the) bit*h better watch where he’s going.”

Reports say that after he got back to his apartment, Halter turned off the lights and watched Fargo on Netflix under his heavy comforter, vowing to never again mention the occurrence.

 

News: Dummy Falls Down on his Stupid Face in Front of Everybody

Review: Maria

When I first watched Netflix’s new pitch black action movie Maria, the opening scene in which the titular badass dispatches several armed guards with a smooth-flowing grace, I was excited about this new Filipino action film.  At the conclusion of the scene, the American action-movie trope of the moralistic assassin is subverted, and Maria (Christine Reyes) murders a mother and her pre-adolescent daughter in cold blood.  I feel a twinge of shame and self-recrimination, even now, typing that I found this introduction exciting, a smile slid across my face.  Unfortunately, this early note of enlivening surprise, though it did truthfully portend the ensuing grimness of this film, did not fully presage the paint-by-numbers revenge story Maria would turn out to be.

To start out with, despite any of the complaints I ended up having with the movie as a whole, first time (as far as I could find) director Pedring A. Lopez covers his film in a layer of polish nearly a meter thick.  This polish, which shows itself in the production design and above-average fight choreography, was enough to keep an action-addict like me entertained for its scant 89-minute runtime.  I was entertained, on occasion, sitting through Maria, but the lazy scripting and plotting were only two of the elements preventing me from recommending this movie.

Maria has far too much pointless torture.  I was immediately turned off by the substantive number of scenes in which some of the movie’s villains torment nameless victims by pulling off their fingernails or shoving a cattle prod up their ass.  These and other outlandishly lengthy depictions of sadism fit the dour tone of the piece as a whole, but without fleshed out characters, the film becomes an exercise in perseverance on the part of the viewer.

The cliches drip from every pore of this movie, from the bad guys holding guns to each others faces to the female assassin who finishes arming herself by pausing and saying, in a muted and serious tone, “I need a dress.”  That said, cliches and well-worn action-movie tropes can be entertaining, and the shine that sparkles on this production indicates that these filmmakers have a future in pulp cinema. Depressingly, the unchanging darkness of the film, along with the slipshod craftsmanship in both its scriptwriting and its performances couple to make Maria a trial to finish.

Maria (2019)

Director: Pedring A. Lopez

Writers: Pedring A. Lopez, Yz Carbonell, Rex Lopez

Actors: Christine Reyes, Germaine De Leon, KC Montero

Currently streaming on Netflix

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Review: Maria

Poem: Inscrutable Wisdom

Dream of having nothing at all, and think

what you’d be, fossilized snot bubble, skipping light

curmudgeon complaining, casting darts on the lawn in formation

spelling “THAT’S IT” or “THIS IS IT” just to fuck with people

in the morning

on their day off, they can’t read it

at first as they haven’t the angle, it takes time

to understand the meaning

of a disappointing slime leaking, it’s nothing

at all dummy, this is nothing just like everything.

 

But people loved it, they went crazy

chanting intricately in column formations

and shit, assuming it’s a warning, filling a hole

with wishes written down and set

aflame, until a pit of ashes in its place

raked by an elderly Chinese man

wondering what the words had meant

becomes the sole symbol, showing that shadow

obscures nothing of note, and mystery is wanting

not finding a solution, the search itself is.

Poem: Inscrutable Wisdom

Poem: History

Scribbled secret notebook pages, hastily hunt and pecked, hen by Demon

Shakespeare Rattle brand cough syrup, a writer in reposing horror, eyes wide

open, Hemingway’s it all the way home man, like lynching a bar fly

for no good reason, film forms on my lips, being expelled for smoking

in the teacher’s lounge, manifesting my O’s and Q’s, as well as the twenty

four more, to craft a meaning for living and dying, by the billions

if the wind breaks right, humanity will happen, but now it’s too late

to save us, from ourselves we must escape, defending old minds

from the horror of now, of what we’ve done, is the only way to make sure

that they suffer too, which is only fair, capitulating the vibrations.

Poem: History

All the world

there is nothing, and nothing ever matters,
because your brain is nothing but sparks and dials and levers
going haywire on a loop
over and over, but what about beauty?                                                                                                        
Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang is a story about friendship
where the two styles merge, choreography superior
fetishistic circus of movement, kung fu inferno
never translated with a meaning, iron eyepatch
villainy inherent, there is always more.                                                                                            
Nothing and more there is always there, behind
all time and space, depending on how you look
through one eye alone, see vapors evaporate
into joyful progress, every day a new door
made of candy, stars bursting chewable
red and blue and purple, but probably not.                                                                                      
That would be madness, panoramic obsessive
without paranoia, you’d be locked up
believing that, there never was tomorrow
in the first place, because all of us can feel
that we are the same, marrow and saliva
leaking out the folds, memories of pain becoming.                                                                               
Shadows receding slowly, clearing your head
of detritus, nothing is ever at all
without a passion, stories die as reborn
becoming all places, characters and statements
at the same time popping a brain out your eyes.                                                                                     
Love is in everything, forever onward
omnipresent dreadfully looming
horrors of the dawn dusk in between and end,
search for a kernel of joy, that’s all there is
when it comes down to it.
All the world

Movie Review: LA Confidential (1997)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Writer: James Ellroy (novel) Brian Heigeland (screenplay)

Starring: Guy Pierce, Kevin Spacey, Russel Crowe, Kim Basinger

LA Confidential, simply put, is one of the most compelling, endlessly re-watchable thrillers of all time.  One thing that distinguishes this film from its rivals is the faithfulness to its source material.  I don’t mean the novel it was actually adapted from, James Elroy’s piece of the same name, which I haven’t read, I mean Dragnet (1952-9)Dragnet has its fingerprints all over the film, from the opening slightly satirical monologue delivered over a montage of scenes from the city, to the way the story tends to take place in a series of interrogations.  However, this isn’t Dragnet, and modern audiences need a bit more nuance and a bit more honesty.  Not every interrogation ends in a fade out.  Some interrogations end in blood, some end in death, and some end in sex.

The interrogation that ends in sex is one of my favorite scenes in the movie.  Kim Basinger (who won Best Actress for her performance) blazes the screen with wit, honesty and intensity.  Her character Lynn Bracken distinguishes herself early as an intelligent and capable woman, but the world in which she works as a high-class call girl only values her sexuality.  So when Ed Exley (Guy Pierce) knocks on her door in the middle of the night, and passionately kisses her, she resists at first.  She even says “fucking me and fucking Bud White (Russel Crowe) aren’t the same thing you know?”  Upon hearing this, a statement that correctly judged Exley’s true motives, he simply persists, and power relationships being what they were in the 50’s, she has no choice but to succumb.  This quasi-rape scene spurs the film on to its conclusion, but more than just a plot point, it showcases in horrific microcosm one of the film’s central themes; that when the police outstep their bounds, they become indistinguishable from the criminals they fight against.

This theme is shone most obviously in the performance of Russel Crowe, who is stunning as veteran detective Bud White.  When we first see officer White, he interrupts a domestic dispute not by ringing a doorbell or pounding on the door, but by yanking the christmas decorations off their roof.  Though it turned out officer White was justified, as his actions did put at least a temporary halt to an ongoing case of domestic abuse, I wonder who was going to pay for the destroyed christmas decorations.  Later in the film, White executes a man, shooting him in the chest, before taking care to pull out a second gun and stage the crime scene.  Both White (Crowe) and Exley (Pierce) are weak and morally compromised in their own ways, but by the end, they must join together to reach a satisfactory conclusion.  This brings us back to Dragnet.

Every episode of Dragnet ended with an arrest, showing that any mystery is solved and evil is punished, and though LA Confidential is definitely unconventional in most every respect, its ending draws everything together.  Through the masterful performance of everyone involved, particularly James Cromwell whom I believe should’ve won an oscar for his portrayal of Captain Dudley Smith, Curtis Hanson (Director) stitched together a remarkably compelling history lesson.  He shows through the slanted motives and animalistic desires of nearly each character involved, that nothing is exactly as it seems.

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Movie Review: LA Confidential (1997)