October 16th, 2005



V a l m o n t
{XXIV A.S. Directed by Milos Forman. Starring Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly, Fairuza Balk, Siân Phillips}

A wonderful film for the boudoir, dealing with a treachorous widow {Merteuil: Annette Bening} and her lover Valmont {Colin Firth} who make a bet that a certain perfidious woman can be seduced, despite all indications to the contrary. Indeed, where there's a will, there certainly is a way. The aristocratic world of the flesh runs rampant in 17th century France, with passionate lusts, delicious seductions, precarious predicaments, beautiful environments, fiendish gentlemen and lascivious ladies - veritable succubi and incubi enjoying the pleasures of the earth, eachother, and loving every minute of it. It seems this is the only manner where the so-called "golden rule" can be applied in "love thy neighbor as thyself", where 'love' is merely a euphemism for lust.

The sets are absolutely splendid, a definite inspiration for one's own total environment, and the actors, particularly the sublime Meg Tilly {Tourvel} for My taste, are superb. Etiquette abounds even through sinister means. The rest of the plot deals with a series of exquisite enticements. Pre-'The Craft' Fairuza Balk plays nubile 'Cecile', seduced by the salacious Valmont during a tutoring session, and even her boyfriend Danceny {Henry Thomas from E.T.} is himself seduced by the voracious Merteuil as part of a subsequent quarrel between the two, who mirror eachother in many respects, and actually admire one another's ardent natures.

Sadly, due to one bad decision, Valmont falters in a duel, and meets his demise at the hands of Danceny. It was rather humorous viewing the funeral where many of the women attending placed flowers and adoration upon him in the coffin, where the viewer knows he took his liberties with each one.

Personally, I enjoyed this version of the novel much better than the over-hyped "Dangerous Liaisons", which itself does have its points, although Valmont seems somewhat more 'authentic'.

Rating: 5/5.


Nefarious Newsletter V.197


I. Quotations: Friedrich Nietzsche.
II. Interesting Facts & Foibles: Bizarre Sexual Trivia.
III. Nefarious News: Some Folks Have a Hard Time Letting Go, Family Credits Virgin Mary for $1 Million, Sword Play Turns Deadly When Blade Separates From Handle.
IV. The Black Earth: Scareplex.
V. Wicked Words: ratiocination, schadenfreude, mironic, spondulicks, outre, scry.
VI. Loki's Laughter: Holy underwear, divine right.
VII. Hell's Bar & Grill: Garlic Toasts, Meat Filled Cannelloni, Spinach Caesar Salad, Ricotta Honey Pudding.
VIII. The Devil's Web: The Upper Crust, Skin Lightening Report.
IX. The Shadow Gallery: Vampire Daemon.

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Partial Lunar Eclipse Oct. 17

Viewer's Guide: Partial Lunar Eclipse Oct. 17
By Joe Rao
SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist
posted: 14 October 2005
7:00 am ET

Eclipses of the Sun and Moon usually come in pairs.  A solar eclipse is almost always accompanied by a lunar eclipse two weeks before or after it, since in two weeks the Moon travels halfway around its orbit and is likely to form another almost-straight line with the Earth and Sun.

This month will be no exception.

Two weeks after casting its shadow across Europe and Africa on October 3, the Moon will swing around to barely skim through the northern edge of the Earth's own shadow.  Most of North America, the eclipse will be seen before or during dawn on Monday, October 17. 

Where it can be seen

Ironically, those who enjoyed the sight of the solar eclipse earlier this month will not be able to see the lunar eclipse since it will occur when the Moon is below the horizon, during the daytime.  For central and eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the eclipse comes during Monday evening, during or after dusk. 

In the United States and Canada, those living in the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones should be able to see most, if not the entire visible range of the eclipse as the Moon descends toward the western horizon.  Alaska and Hawaii will see the entire eclipse from start to finish. 

Along a line running roughly from the Arrowhead of Minnesota, south to the southern tip of Texas, the Moon will be setting just as it is leaving the Earth's dark umbra.  Farther east, along a line running roughly from Buffalo, New York south across central Florida, the Moon will be setting just as it is entering the umbra.  It is debatable whether the dark shadow will be visible to those living in the region between these two lines.

Remember that an eclipsed Moon sets right around the time when the Sun is rising.  As such, the brightening, almost-daylight sky at that time may cut as much as 15 minutes from your eclipse viewing. The western sky needs to be a bit darker and the Moon needs to be a bit higher; at least clear of any horizon haze so that you can have a clear shot at it. 

That's why the western states will have an advantage over those located farther to the east.

An accompanying timetable shows what to look for and when. 

What you can see

The first event listed is the Moon entering the penumbra, the faint outer extremity of the Earth's shadow.  But this shadow is so light that the Moon doesn't begin to change appearance until the Moon's diameter has penetrated it by at least 70 percent. Around that time, look for a very slight shading or smudginess on the upper left portion of the Moon. 

As the minutes pass, the penumbra becomes more obvious.  Those living in the eastern states might catch a glimpse of the penumbra before the Moon sets.  

The next event listed is the Moon entering the umbra, the dark inner part of the Earth's shadow.  This is the beginning of partial eclipse.  The umbra is much darker than the penumbra and fairly sharp-edged.  Partial eclipse lasts only 58 minutes. 

At its deepest, the umbra will extend only 6.8 percent of the way across the Moon's diameter.  The umbra's edge will completely miss the large, brilliant rayed crater Tycho, but will appear to graze the crater Clavius.  After the maximum eclipse, the Moon will soon exit the umbra and soon the penumbral shading will gradually fade away.   

The next lunar eclipse will be strictly a penumbral event and will occur on March 14 of next year and will favor Europe, Africa, western Asia and the eastern United States and Canada.  The next total lunar eclipse will not come until March 3, 2007.

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