Hilarious, bawdy princess rap battles

Youtube sensation Whitney Avalon has a brilliant new entry to her amazing Rap Battles series: a rude, hilarious battle between Belle and Cinderella, starring Buffy's Sarah Michelle Gellar. Read the rest

Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies

Rock cover of "I See Fire," from Desolation of Smaug

Anaria covered Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire", the end credits from The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, in rockin' style. Here's the band's YouTube Channel. Read the rest

The Desolation of Tolkien

Ethan Gilsdorf reviews The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, where we see more clearly Jackson's vision to give The Hobbit the look, feel and slow majesty of The Lord of the Rings.

Short video on origins of Elvish, Klingon, Dothraki and Na’vi

From TED Ed: "What do Game of Thrones’ Dothraki, Avatar’s Na’vi, Star Trek’s Klingon and LOTR’s Elvish have in common? They are all fantasy constructed languages, or conlangs. Conlangs have all the delicious complexities of real languages: a high volume of words, grammar rules, and room for messiness and evolution. John McWhorter explains why these invented languages captivate fans long past the rolling credits." Read the rest

The real (?) "One Ring" Of The Hobbit

This cursed Roman ring may have inspired the One Ring of JRR Tolkien. It's now on display at The Vyne in Basingstoke, England. The Guardian has more on this artifact and the strange story surrounding its theft and subsequent curse. Read the rest

Zazzle: Tolkien estate told us to take down the badge. Wait, no they didn't!

Last week, I got an email from a lawyer representing the Tolkien estate informing me that his clients hadn't demanded that Zazzle remove Adam Rakunas's badge reading "While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion."

So I wrote to Adam and asked him what Zazzle had told him about the affair. He was good enough to post all of his correspondence with Zazzle over the matter. On February 28, "Mike" from Zazzle wrote to Adam to say:

With regards to details of the infringement, all legal documents are confidential therefore I cannot release this undisclosed information. But we ask that you do acknowledge the fact that we were contacted by The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate, and at their request to prevent and remove any unauthorized and infringing third-party uses of their copyrights, trademarks and intellectual properties.
But when Adam pressed them for details (and after a lot of bad publicity), "Mike" wrote back:
This email is in regards to the deletion of your button entitled "While you were reading Tolkien,I was watching Eva". After corresponding with representatives from the Tolkien Estate, it's been brought to our attention that the design was removed inadvertently due to a miscommunication on our part.
I've written to several addresses at Zazzle seeking clarification, without an answer. But here's my guess: the Tolkien estate had previously contacted Zazzle and said, forcefully, "You keep carrying things that infringe our copyrights and trademarks. We expect you to take them down and prevent this from happening in the future." So Zazzle instituted a blanket policy of removing anything that even smelled of Tolkien. Read the rest

UPDATE: Tolkien estate didn't take down badge, claims Zazzle found it "potentially infringing"

This morning I heard from Steven Maier, partner at the Oxford law firm of Manches LLP, on behalf of the Tolkien estate. He wrote to say that the estate was not involved in Zazzle's takedown of a badge reading "While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion." According to Maier, "Zazzle has confirmed that it took down the link of its own accord, because its content management department came across the product and deemed it to be potentially infringing."

Which is odd, because Adam Rakunas's post on the subject implied that Zazzle had told him they'd written on behalf of Tolkien's heirs. I've written to both Rakunas and Zazzle for an update.

I'm sorry for misidentifying the Tolkien estate as responsible for this inanity. While they have used copyright threats to censor at least three novels tangentially involving Tokien's characters or personage (that I know of), this button wasn't their fault, it was Zazzle's.

Tolkien estate censors badge that contains the word "Tolkien" (Thanks, Steven!)  Tolkien estate censors badge that contains the word "Tolkien ... Tolk_en estate versus the Streisand Effect - Boing Boing Read the rest

Weta collectibles auction to benefit Christchurch quake victims

New Zealand special effects house Weta has put a collection of its fine models up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to benefit victims of the Christchurch earthquake. I own two of Weta's rayguns, and they're among my most prized and beautiful possessions. Up for sale are two models based on the Lord of the Rings movies (one signed by Peter Jackson, the other by Richard Taylor) and one of the Doctor Grodbort's rayguns, customized and signed by Greg Broadmore.

Weta Limited - eBay (via Super Punch)  Google App to help locate people in Christchurch quake - UPDATED ... Why was the Christchurch Earthquake so destructive? - Boing Boing Weta's new cheaper, delightful, detailed plastic rayguns Boing Boing Mini Weta raygun - Boing Boing Interview with Greg Broadmore, Weta Workshop artist and creator of ... Read the rest

Eye of Mordor/US dollar bill mashup tee

Threadless's dschwen and murraymullet created this Eye of Mordor/US-dollar-bill-pyramid mashup and have put it to the vote on Threadless. I'm for it! I think the Elvish script under the sigil really makes this.

The All Seeing Eye by dschwen (via Super Punch)  Threadless: Ten Years of T-shirts from the World's Most Inspiring ... Snow White/Magritte Threadless tee design - Boing Boing Peanuts as Peanuts t-shirt proposal on Threadless Boing Boing Threadless tees in cake form - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Threadless spoiler tee Boing Boing: Todd Goldman loves Threadless T-shirt designs Tattoos inspired by Threadless t-shirt designs - Boing Boing Threadless tee design a tribute to the NES and Miyamoto - Boing Boing Read the rest