Jurassic Fight Club, DIY Batmobiles and More

Dinosaurs fight it out, you can have your own Batmobile, Neil Gaiman makes an interesting Batman related announcement and I tell you about some Back to the Future papercraft in this week's column. If that's not enough to make your heart want to explode from excitement we also have a one paragraph review of a critically acclaimed television show just entering its second season. So grab yourself a cold glass of lemonade and settle in for a nice read.

This week we travel back many millions of years to when disputes were settled the old fashioned way, using teeth and claw and sheer body size. A television show called Jurassic Fight Club debuted on the History Channel this week, stating there is just one rule, survive. Naturally with a title like that I wasn't expecting much in the way of science, but luckily there is some, supplied by some useful and interesting paleontologists, including my very favorite paleontologist of all, Dr. Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland. (I realize that it's not normal to have a favorite paleontologist but I make up for it by not having a favorite football team. It all works out in the end.)

The first episode focused on a battle between dinosaurs of the same species, the "T-Rex of Asia," an enormous fellow called Majungatholus. This guy sports razor sharp, serrated teeth that line up like a conveyor belt, allowing old, broken or injured teeth to be replaced by new ones as needed. (The shark also has this same feature. I'm sure anyone who has had a root canal wishes they had it too.) It's these very same serrated teeth that allowed scientists to interpret the evidence found in the fossils and reconstruct the fight. Majungatholus lived in the Cretaceous Era, making it, like many of the other animals, an honorary Jurassic member of the fight club, I suppose.

Upcoming episodes will feature a pack of raptors versus Tenontosaurus, a Mega-Lion fighting a Short-Faced Bear, Megaladon (an ancient enormous shark) up against a Brygmophyseter, another apex predatory, this time a whale and of course T-Rex will take on all comers. "You are about to see a graphic depiction of a violent prehistoric battle - viewer discretion advised" said my television, so maybe this one isn't for the very young. The series airs on Tuesday nights on the History Channel at nine p.m., making me grateful that House was moved to eight p.m. I'd hate to have to choose between watching extinct creatures fight each other or House fight his patients.

As The Dark Knight continues to rule the box office, bringing in 314 million dollars domestically as of the 27th, Neil Gaiman made an interesting announcement on his journal. Neil says he’ll be writing a two-part Batman comic for Andy Kubert to draw. It will be two oversized issues and he's not going to say another word until it's all finished. Still no word on whether or not he's planning to write a Doctor Who episode for Stephan Moffat, but given the amount of space he's spent teasing us with non-answers I'm going to guess he will in fact write such an episode.

In other Batman news, just in case you missed seeing this on one of the other eighty gazillion websites that featured it, here is Cláudio Dias' rather wonderful Papercraft Tumbler, the car the Batman drove in both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. http://www.paperinside.com/wp-content/images/tumbler17-p.jpg I'm too intimidated to try and make it myself but would love to hear from anyone who manages it. Complicated directions can be downloaded here.

The same creator has made tons of other gorgeous papercraft, including these terrific time machines from the Back to the Future films. First we have the train, which I think looks quite nice. http://www.paperinside.com/wp-content/images/train_09-p.jpg Then we have the Delorean, which looks insanely complicated. http://www.paperinside.com/wp-content/images/delorean24-p.jpg

You can download both of them, along with instructions, here.

One-Paragraph Review
This week's one-paragraph review is of an award winning television series entering its second season. "Boozing in the office! Smoking in the office! And Ogling the females! Life was good back in the 1960s which is where this AMC summer TV series is set. 'Mad Men' is all about the world of advertising in New York and focuses on an ad agency run by Don Draper who has a mysterious past. Don looks like a well dressed Jack Kerouac and knows a good ad when he sees it. He smokes too much, has five drinks a day and is stressed out. He plays around but returns to the wife on the train every evening (unless he has an excuse to stay in the city.) This show feels like a John Cheever short story and goes down like a Manhattan cocktail. 'Mad Men' airs Sunday nights. The second season began July 27th. Do not miss it! -- Paul Muolo" (Mad Men is also available on demand. Season one is available through August 10th, allowing anyone new to the show to get caught up.) Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.