Sunday, April 30, 2006

The West Wing--"The Last Hurrah"

I’m glad to know The West Wing hasn’t completely written off Arnold Vinick after his loss in the presidential race. I don’t buy the argument that Vinick was supposed to when but for the death of actor John Spencer. The writers tried too hard to make Santos a Cinderella candidate for that to be plausible. I assumed he would be completely written out of the show, particularly considering there are only a handful of episodes left to wrap things up. I didn’t believe for a minute the promos which implied Vinick would be offered the VP slot, either. Sometimes this show is more fanciful than the worst science fiction.

Now that the presidential campaign is over, Vinick has a problem he has never had to deal with before--boredom. After being bombarded by coverage of the president elect, Vinick decides to personally speak with GOP state party heads, governors, and big donors. The staff members of his Senate office are worried about him. It’s pretty clear he is planning to run again in four years. Meanwhile Santos is struggling to select a VP to replace the departed Leo McGarry and fill out his cabinet while his family adjusts to life in the shadow of the secret service.

Vinick starts fielding job offers and teaching positions. He accepts guest lecturer positions for little money in the pivotal states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Associates try to push him towards a job with a DC law form instead, but he won’t hear of it. His heart is set on the presidency while his staff members dance around their opinion on the issue. They think he is too old to handle the stress of campaigning and the job if he wins. The idea haunts Vinick as he realizes he has nothing important to do, no important people to see. Santos comes calling, needing his help in getting Gov. Eric Baker, his choice for VP, through the republican Senate. Seeing the hustle of the president elect’s office makes him feel even more depressed and useless.

Santos drops the “bomb” on him during their meeting--would he consider being VP? Vinick sees through the ploy. Santos wants it leaked that he asked Vinick so the Senate Republicans will offer a speedy confirmation, then announce Baker as his choice, pressuring the Senators to give him the same speedy confirmation. Santos admits that’s true and then tells Vinick--sincerely--he wants him as Secretary of State because of his keen strategic skill and good foreign relations. Vinick turns him down on the spot. Later, he consults with his advisors. Vinick thinks this will keep him from running. His staffers know it will. That’s why they want him to take it. Yes, he wants to be king, but he really should know when to quit. Vinick finally relents. After getting he won’t have to endure any partisan hang ups, Vinick agrees. The episode fades out as Vinick and santos are absorbed in discussion the situation in kazakstan.

I’ve known that feeling, no matter how inconsequential compared to the presideny, of being part of a losing campaign and not knowing what to do next. It’s a sinking feeling and was done well, particularly the bits about how you were on top of the world one day and yesterday’s news the next. It was presented well and made the episode for me.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Stephen Colbert's Routine

Good old YouTube, which seems to care nothing about copyright law, has the entire Stephen Colbert routine from last night's White House Correspondents Dinner. If you want to see what the fuss was all about, click the three videos below. The last one features Helen Thomas prominently, so you might want to keep small children and jittery pets away from the computer while you watch.

More on Colbert's Routine

Typical fallout from Stephen Colbert’s routine last night at the White house Correspondent’s Dinner. The AP is ignoring it, the lefty bloggers are salivating, and the righty bloggers are gnashing their teeth. I recall a couple of years ago when Bush was featured in a video at this dinnner looking in closets and under couches for WMD. The AP reported it as tasteless, the lefty bloggers called for impeachment, and the righty bloggers that it was funnier than a barrel full of Henny Youngmans. In other words, everything is pretty much normal. Colbert joins Don Imus on the list of personalities who will not be invited back.

Most everyone found Bush’s routine with the impersonator funny even if they don’t like the president personally. His routine was a matter of comedic timing. Whether you found Colbert funny depended on whether you shared his assumptions. If you did, you thought it was funny. If you didn’t, or believed the dinner wasn’t the place for such an intense roasting, you weren’t entertained. Pretty much the same way the reaction to the Bush video a few years ago went.

Colbert wasn’t so much doing a comedy routine as doing a satire on media pundits. Pundits are notoriously insecure folks. They can’t run the risk of being dismissed too much or people might begin to not take them seriously. Bush himself is also famous for not handling criticism or being questioned well. He barely made a sound during Colbert’s routine and I don’t recall Laura Bush ven politely shaking Colbert’s hand afterwards. Satire is a tough fom of comedy to get and not everyone does. You have to be able to see certain greys in everything. I learned quickly at Regent that my sense of humor doesn’t go over well with people under the illusion that everything is either black or white. In today’s would where asking, ‘Why, Mr. President?” means you are with the terrorists, it’s a risky move to be satirical--especially in that environment. The WHCD is just not the place for that and Colbert was not at his best anyway.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Colbert Report

South Carolina's favorite son, Stephen Colbert, just had one of the most uncomfortable routines at the White House Correspondents' Dinner since Don Imus a few years ago. Hardly anyone, especially the President, even cracked a smile. That's bad considering Bush's self-deprecating routine alongside a lookalike got big laughs. Colbert didn't even get polite noise. I am disappointed.I can't wait to see how he spins it on The Colbert Report, though.
Keith Richards Falls Out of a Tree

Out of all the headlines you’d ever expect to read about Keith Richards, was falling out of a tree ever one of them? I mean the guy looks like he’s been dead since 1979. With all the boose and drugs, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that, for some reason, probably only between him and God, Keith was climbing a palm tree at an exclusive resort in Fiji. Note that around forty years ago, he and fellow rolline stone Mick Jagger were arrested on charges of a lewd act with a candy bar and spanking a groupie with a dead fish, so things aren’t as weird as they could have been. Maybe he’s mellowing in his old age.

Personally, I’d like to have seen things from Keith’s perspective, just so I could know exactly what he thought he was climbing. Just like in the following video in which I wonder what he thought was attacking him. Note that he never misses a beat the whole time. He’s a consummate professional.
Ashlee and Jessica: Sibling Rivalry

Ashlee Simpson has thrown the gauntlet down in her sibling rivalry with her older sister, Jessica Simpson. From recently in the Scotland's Daily Record:
Ashlee Simpson has joked that she is more attractive than sister Jessica.The singer claims she is prettier than the ‘Dukes Of Hazzard’ star, despite denying rumours of sibling rivalry in the past. She is quoted in Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper as saying: “I’m taller than she is and my legs are longer than hers…I got lucky because my chest size isn’t completely massive”
That's probably not an argument worth getting into. Both have have enough bad press and engaged in silly behavior to negate just about any affection one might muster for eith of them. As bad a Jessica's singing and acting are, poor Ashlee is a train wreck, but being caught lip synching on Saturday Night Live to a recorded drunken tantrum at a Toronto McDonalds, lord only knows why they'd argue which one is better than the other.

but if the rivalry has to come down to a beauty contest, here's some pictures of Ashlee to help you decide. No nude, naked, or bikini photos, though. Sorry.

You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary.
Oceanic Survivors Dance

Do you recall a few weeks ago in an episode review I said Lost was quickly delving into a weirdness not seen on TV since The Prisoner. I hope you do, because i have no desire to roam the archives for it. Anyway, this surreal promo for the UK's airingg of the show on Channel 4 is a perfectly creepy example. Note a few plot points evident, as well. kate switches dance partners between Jack and Sawyer in every scene, Sayid is flopping Shannon around as though she is lifeless, Jin passes Sun to Michael, Charlie and Hurley are alienated, and the whole affair is being conducted by the manipulative Locke and mysterious walt. Incredibly sureal. how come the British get cool promos like this and we don't? (Note: the song featured on this video wasn't the one used in the actual airing, but fits nevertheless.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Doctor Who--"Father's Day"

Here’s another episode I have heard a lot of buzz about since its first airing last year in the United Kingdom. It was quite moving, even painful at times for personal reasons, even with some of the logical inconsistencies and Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor being even more of a misanthropic jerk than usual. I’ll take these points one at a time after a quick recap.

The story begins with Rose recounting her father’s death in 1987. She describes him as “the most wonderful man in the world” and requests the Doctor travel back to the day of his hit and run accident so he will not be alone when he dies. The Doctor reluctantly agrees. In 1987, they watch the accident occur, but Rose cannot bring herself to approach her father. She asks the Doctor if they can do this again. He is wary, but agrees. This time, though, Rose takes it upo herself to push her father out of the speeding car’s path, saving his life. The Doctor is incredibly angry that he has picked another “stupid ape” as his companion and takes her TARDIS key. He laves to sulk in the TARDIS but discovers it no longer works. What‘s worse, some creatures are materializing around the scene where Pete Tyler should have died and are killing everyone in sight.

Pete was on his way to a wedding and rose tags along. There they meet up with Jackie and an infant Rose. Jackie eyes Rose up and down, assuming she is another of Pete’s affairs. She and Jack argue bitterly while rose sorrowfully realizes her parents didn’t have the happy relationship she always believed they did. The doctor arrives screaming for everyone to get inside the church just as the winged reptillian creatures appear and kill several more people. The doctor barricades everyone in the church and tells them that since the church is old, they will be safe for a while. He explains to rose that the continued existence of her father has caused a wound in time and these creatures are destroying everyone near the wound in an attempt to fix things. Normally, when history has been interfered with, the TARDIS shuts down at the “scene of the crime” and the other Time Lords would handle the creatures. Now there are no Time Lords left.

After some personal moments in which the Doctor assures the bride and groom he’ll save them 9and tells rose how stupid she is. Thanks, Sawbones.) Pete realizes the grown up Rose is his daughter. Jackie is still mad, but when Pete tells her who Rose really is, he hands the infant Rose to the adult Rose creating another wound in time. This wound allows a creature to materialize in the church. The creature kills the Doctor.

As Rose mourns, Pete stares out the window and watches the same car that should have killed him repeating the same trip down the road and disappearing over and over again. He’d noticed it before, but the doctor told him it was nothing. It puzzles me why, considering that pete immediately realizes the only way to restore things is to be killed by the hit and run driver. He rushes out of the church an jumped right in front of the car. Rose watches the whole thing horrified as the Doctor reappears beside her. He tells her to go to him. Her dad dies in her arms as everything returns to normal.

I’m sure everyone has played around with the idea of being able to change some past event for the better if they could. For all the rotten things that have happened to me, I have always risen above it only in recent years I have I ever really wished I could go back and do some thins again. That’s the danger of having too much time to think. I do not need some frivolous science fiction show to tell me things would not necessarily turned out for the better. Like Rose, who discovered her parents had feet of clay, I understand there are no ideal circumstances even if you envision how good things would be if you could just change one thing for the “better.” That’s a depressing thought even for an avowed fatalist like yours truly.

On a happier note, you had to ignore some logical problems in order to follow the plot. The key question is why is it all right to prevent Queen Victoria from being bitten by a werewolf but not all right to save Pete Tyler? The Doctor says Rose shouldn’t have made a move to change history because only he knows what he’s doing. That can’t be true. Past companions have altered history. Even the Daleks have manipulated time. Frankly, if only the Doctor knows what he is doing by traveling to the past, then he shouldn’t have a companion at all. Wouldn’t a companion’s mere presence in a place she shouldn’t be affect events? I’d think so. But this is the whole paradox of time travel that science fiction and comic books have to gloss over in order to be entertaining. After “Dalek” I wonder how the Time Lords could all be dead when at any given moment (relatively speaking) everyone of them is traveling at some point in the future. How can they not all technically still exist? Best not to think about that.

I liked the episode. I’m impressed how much this show can do with such a limited budget and sets. Really, the entire episode was set at Pete’s house and the church, yet I never paid much attention to how limited the world was here. It did bug me that Eccleston’s attitude was so rotten. He of all people ought to have understood how distraught Rose was about her father’s fate and should have been more careful about allowing her to go back a second time. Shoulder some of the blame, dude. You claim to know what you are doing. Act like it.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
George Clooney Calls for Action on Darfur
I’m rough on celebrities who like to call attention to pet issues. I suspect many are motivated by guilt over their wealth and fame for relatively frivolous jobs. It is difficult to take them wagging their fingers in your face over this and that cause while most folks are burning their candles at both ends as it is. I’m also a realist, though. I understand that oftentimes the results are more important than the motives and this is one such time. George Clooney here is featured at a conference at the National Press club, flanked by Sens. Bbrownback and obama, to call attention to the genocide in Darfur.

The situation in Darfur is nothing new. The slaughter has been going on for years with little or not international effort to stop it. There isn’t much tht can be done short of military intervention and even the success of that is an iffy prospect. It is irrelevant, of course. As good a people as we Americans believe we are, we will not spend blood and treasure on a purely humanitarian effort. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, either. I’m not certain armed conflict is the answer, either. Consider that China has been supplying the Sudanese government with aid for quite some time or the rights to maintain oil refineries in their country.

There have been promises of United Nations intervention, but you may recall the failure to seize weapons in Rwanda a decade ago by the Blue Helmets directly lead to the mass slaughter of 10,000 civilians I one day. NATO has become another possibility after its successful bombing campaign against the Serbs. Recall the various NATO commanders stepping on each other’s toes during th conflict over how to conduct operations and what is a valid target. The wheels may turn slow heading towards such an intervention, but they often grind to a halt once it begins. Meanwhile, five Congressmen were arrested today for an “unlawful gathering” outside the Sudanese Embassy.
Congressional Frat Boy

Yes, that is U.S. Rep. John Seeney (R-Clifton Park attending a fraternity party at Union College. Rep. Sweeney arrived already intoxicated and things went downhill from there. The Congressman explained he was interested in engaging some of his young constituents one-on-one. Unfortunately, Union College is not in his district. Why he doesn't just go to Florida for Spring Break like Sen. Ted Kennedy is beyond me.Remind me again why we call these guys the ruling class?
Danger, Will Robinson

If you have $24,500 laying around collecting dust, maybe you'd like to buy a life size replica of the Robot from Lost in Space. Or you could buy me one. I haven't exactly been good this year, but no one has pressed charges.

This bit of news and the Caprica launch remind me of a science fiction joke. You see, this robot walks into a bar, orders a drink, and puts down a $10 bill.

The bartender tells him, "We don't serve robots."

"Yeah," the robot answers, "but someday you will."

Talk about the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, has been pretty excited. There are a lot of fans who initially felt the same way I did Wednesday night--this sounds like Dalls in space. Indeed, at first glance the idea of corporations building robots to do their dirty work and the politics surrounding it does sound soap operaish. However, I think upon further reflection, this show will surprise us. For one, I was reminded that in the 2003 relaunch miniseries, there was an original Cylon from the ‘70’s series in a musuem with a quip that was the original design. I have it pictured at left. A throwback homage to the first series would be kind of cool.

Ronald D. Moore has revealed in interviews that the Cylons were originally built as a labor force, then used as soldiers in interhuman warss befoe finally, somehow developing sentence and rebelling. There was a war between the Cylons and humans after which the Cylons agreed to leave. Caprica will probably deal with all those elements and maybe even give hints as to why the Cylons returned 40 years later with a belief in God and nuclear weapons, not necessarily in that order, as shown in the miniseries.

Yes, it does retread some old ground. I’m thinking specifically about the second season episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation, “The Measure of a Man,” in which the android Lt. Comm. Data is to be taken apart by a Starfleet robotics expert and studied. A hearing ensues to decide whether Data is sentient and can make decisions for himself or is he like a starship’s computer and personal property with no free will. The overall idea is that Data may lead to the creation of a slave labor force, which is against the muddled, but idealistic beliefs of the Federation. After much hand ringing, Picard saves the day by playing Perry mason even though he isn’t a JAG and the most obvious argument that at no point was Data ever Starfleet property and therefore isn’t now were never used. I can see those themes cropping up on the creation, use, and rebellion of the Cylons. Except I trust Ronald D. Moore to do it better.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Keri Russell

When Mision Impossible III opens next week, I'll bet former Felicity star Keri Russell will become the new "it" girl. Here's why:

You may click to enlarge any photo of Keri Russell should you deem it necessary, even though she is only in a bikini, not nude or naked.
Oil Slick

Is anyone else getting bored with the emphasis news and pundits are putting on gas prices? More precisely, the demonization of oil companies? They are a tempting target and politicians have always wagged a finger in oil company executives’ faces with one hand while taking campaign contributions from them with the other. The Long family in Louisiana turned it into an art form throughout the 20th century. Right now, the US Senate is demanding the release of financial records of the largest oil companies in a pageant of “outrage.”

Sen. Shumer, who is the senior senator from New York, but frustrated in Hillary’s long shadow, has even speculated that perhaps some oil companies ought to be broken up. I’d say he’s channeling Thomas Dewey here, or more likely Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer is the white collar crime busting Attorney General who is the current frontrunner for governor of New York, a job the bored Sen. Shumer has his eye on. Even after studying political science in college and following politics long before and sense, I am amazed at how politicians put on a show with disinformation to manipulate the uninformed electorate for their own advantage. Corporations go along with because they know the score.

High gas prices are all about supply and demand. Even aside from the current situation in Iraq and the potential conflict with Iran, oil supplies are down while demand in places like China are way up. It is a natural free market phenomenon. But to blame the oil companies makes politicians look good and paves the way for the exploration of new sources of oil drilling. It’s win-win for those in power politically and financially.
Web Elegy

someone has created a web site to keep track of MySpace users who have died. It is an eyebrow raising and sad site, particularly considering the causes of death for so many of these young people. Alcohol related accidents, drug overdoses, and violent crime seem to be the biggest causes of death. I suppose created such a site is a good idea, if for no other reason than to make people pause and think about the kind of lives a lot of young people are living right now and and the tragic, untimely ends that can result.
Davros Ain't All There, Is He?

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) attempts a philosophical discussion with Davros to convince him to stop the creation of the Daleks, forgetting the variation of old adage that you cannot argue with an idiot. he'll bring you down to his level and beat you with experience. Appparently, the saying applies to megalomanical loony toons, as well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lost--"The Reckoning"

There was no original episode tonight, but another of recap show ABC has been using in recent times in order to refresh plot threads in viewers’ minds. Not a bad idea considering the strange schedule the network has been airing its shows with. For the most part, Lost has been on a two weeks on, three weeks off run this season. I believe Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, the other two recipients of recap shows, have been on similar odd schedules. Why they didn’t recap the long in hiatus Alias before it’s return is beyond me, other than thy just want to burn off the remaining four or five episodes assuming dedicated fans already know the show inside and out.

These clip shows are good and bad. First the bad. It is irritating to retread ground you’ve already been on. It seems cheap to reedit clips into an episode and call it new. It was a trick the networks used during the long Writer’s Guild of America strike in 1988 in order to fill out fall schedules. I’m constantly reminded of what a cop out that was--and something of a cheat to the striking writers--whenever I see it happen these days. On the other hand, the clips shown generally hint out the final may sweeps storyline of shows. That is what happened with last year’s recap for Lost, “The Journey,” which emphasized the hatch, hints of the Others and the Tailend survivors, and Walt’s special status. All these things played a big part in the final five or so episodes of the season.

All right. So what did “The Reckoning” dwell on? Virtually everything was about the hatch or the Others. The conflict between the Castaways and the Others took center stage, particularly Ana-Lucia’s vendetta and Michael’s attempt to rescue the kidnapped Walt. The last half of the recap dealt almost exclusively with the faux Henry Gale, with special attention paid to the hieroglyphs that appeared when the button wasn’t pushed and the map symbol that appeared on the blast door during the food drop lockdown. If last year’s pattern is any indication, that means Michael and Ana-Lucia are going to be pivotal (doomed?) characters, faux Henry Gale will be the central villain, and whatever disaster the “to cause to die” hieroglyphs predicted will be the season ending cliffhanger. Pure speculation, of course, but the past is the best indicator of the future.
Battlestar Galactica Prequel Planned
"Prequel" is a nasty word in science fiction these day after fans have suffered through lackluster Star Wars films and Enterprise, but read the press release:

From executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick ('Battlestar Galactica'), writer Remi Aubuchon ('24') and NBC Universal Television Studio, this new series is set over a half a century before the events that play out in 'Battlestar Galactica.' The people of the Twelve Colonies are at peace and living in a society not unlike our own, but where high-technology has changed the lives of virtually everyone for the better. But a startling breakthrough in robotics is about to occur, one that will bring to life the age-old dream of marrying artificial intelligence with a mechanical body to create the first living robot - a Cylon. Following the lives of two families, the Graystones and the Adamas (the family of William Adama, who will one day become the commander of the 'Battlestar Galactica') 'Caprica' weaves corporate intrigue, techno-action and sexual politics into television's first science fiction family saga.
I have a lot of faith in ronald D. Moore. Deep Space Nine is far and away my favorite Trej series and Battlestar Galactica is one of the best science fiction shows ever. This idea sounds like Dallas in space with killer robots. I'm willing to give it a shot, of course. I recall thinking a relaunch of the campy bellbottomed, feathered hair version of BSG from the '70's was a dumb idea--right along with making a movie about the crucifixion of Christ in a dead language, so what do I know about success in the entertainment buusiness?Sure, why not build huge, killer robots like this? What could go wrong?
Michelle "Jailbird" Rodriguez

How is the blogosphere reacting to Michelle Rodriguez's decision to serve jail time rather than do community service? about how you'd expect.

From The Superficial:
“It makes sense she would choose jail over community service since she always looks like she just got ouf of prison anyway. You can’t look the way she looks and not enjoy the lesbian prison sex. Science won’t allow it.”
From I Don't Like You in That Way::
"[I]f any of you guys have already pulled your pants down with fantasies of a 6 foot tall redhead with D-cups in a cutoff prison shirt and high heels, staring approvingly as other inmates strip and oil up the new meat for their “initiation,” please remember that Rodriguez might be the sexiest thing in there. And if that sounded like a compliment, maybe I wrote it wrong."
Finally, Wizbang Pop:
"I can kind of respect a person for choosing to get it over quick, in jail, rather than have to spend what would amount to a month in Hawaii. Nobody deserves that kind cruel and unusual punishment."
Like I've said before, the woman inspires animosity. She really isn't that bad looking:You may click to enlarge the photo...if you dare.

Rodrigue is currently on pobation in California for a previous DUI. The court there will have a hearing in a few days on revoking that probation. Rodriguez may face up to 15 months in jail in California on top of everything else. Yeah, i'm betting her days are numbered on Lost.
Catch Phrases

Have you noticed Bush's response to questions about Rumsfeld's possible firing, "I am the decider," has caught on as a catch phrase? I imagine it's because people think "decider" isn't a word. As awkward and clunky as it sounds, it is a word and was used correctly. I find it interesting that our political culture has replaced Seinfeld and Saturday NightLive as the source for popular catch phases. To whit:
"Let's roll!"
"Bring it on!"
"Stuck on stupid."
"You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie."
I'm sure there are others that have slipped my mind. television has only given us "You're fired!" from The Apprentice and "crazy delicious" from Andy Sandberg and Chris Parnell's SNL "Narnia Rap," neither of which really caught fire. Interesting that a people who despise politics as much as we say we do draws its pop references from it.
Snow Job

Sometime later today, it will be announced that FOX News personality Tony Snow will be replacing Scott McClellan as White House Press Secretary. I don’t think there are any doubts regarding the news network’s political affiliations at this point, but I am sure it is going to be an issue for lefty pundits and bloggers for the next few days. The press itself will probably be wary that this will lead to more exclusives for FOX. A valid concern, but then again, anytime the White House has wanted to get something out in the open on the air, it has chosen FOX. I can’t imagine any other network being left out in the cold more than they already are.

Snow is less an anchor than a talking head pundit himself. He does have political experience, serving as a speech writer for the first President Bush towards the end of his term. Snow has also been a columnist for The Detroit Free Press and USA Today. Hi political analysis skill are sharp, as will be his ability to spar with the press. I expect him to be much more animated and lively than Scott McClellan or Ari Fleischer ever were.

A few strange notes arise. Snow has been a pundit, not exactly a newsman. Folks tune into him not to hear about the issues of the day, but to hear conservative spin on those issues. We are even further blurring the line between what a press secretary is supposed to be (the repesentative of the President to news organizations) and what a press secretary actually is (a propaganda man). The line between fact and spin is practically nonexistent as it is. Second, Snow is battling colon cancer. I can relate, at least on some level, with his plight. Finally, and what will probably be overlooked, Snow has made some pretty nasty statements about the president in the recent past.

(Yes, I know what that blog's political leanings, but it has the best complitation of bush criticisms of Bush on the internet. Shun the circle jerk every now and then, says I.)
A Post Wherein I Cut Brad Pitt Some Slack
The cynic in me, who is large and mouthy, has thought all along that Brad Pitt is going to get tired of trotting along behind Angelina Jolie’s humanitarian missions, which I have praised before, no matter how good the sex is. I am beginning to slowly but surely bludgeon my inner cynic into submission on this one and cut Pitt some slack. He may have looked like a jerk for dumping Jennifer Aniston, but I don’t think he’s faking the humanitarian agenda anymore.

Pitt is and the environmental organization Global Green USA are sponsoring the Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans, a contest to find an Earth-friendly plan for housing and community centers in neighborhoods ravaged by Katrina. While I am skeptical of any urban renewal plan devised exclusively with environmental safeguards in mind, that he is taking the time and money to be a part of it without hogging any publicity for it is worth noting. In fact, he and Jolie are currently in Namibia shunning the paparazzi while awaiting the birth of their first child.

I am completely curious to see how this all turns out. I’m not really much of a celebrity watcher. The cult of personalities surrounding celebrities is often fascinating. It is even more so when I get to gauge the motivations of certain celebrities as they do the things they do. I see a definite difference between Sean Penn going to Iraq, Martin Sheen posing with Cindy Sheehan, and Tom Cruise complaining about child psychologists compared to the efforts of Jolie and Pitt. I hope I am not proven wrong about that in the future.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ignoble Savages

Lost is all about how people react to being away from civilization. Presumably, they will succomb to their savage natures. Unfortunately, it seem to be happening to the cast more so than the characters. First, Josh Holloway (Sawyer) announces in an interview that he regrets getting married because he'd rather fool around with all his pretty, young groupie fans. Now Michelle rodriguez (Ana-Lucia) has not only plead guilty to DUI, she chose jail time and a fine rather than 240 hours of community service.

Good grief. She'd rather go to jail than pick up trash along the highway or speak to school kids about the dangers of alcohol abuse? What kind of attitude is that? At the very least, you'd think her publicist would talk her into it for the sake of her career. I guess not. Rodriguez looks a little fried there in the mugshot, too, don't you think? I'm wondering now if her character isn't more likely to be one of those killed off in the season finale. The producers don't want a black eye, fans don't like her, and she is obviously a loose cannon who makes poor life decisions.
Doctor Who--"Tooth & Claw"

My source came through for me yet again with the second episode of the second season of the second launch of Doctor Who. I’m glad he did, as “Tooth & Claw” ranks as one of the best I have seen so far. Recall that this is a recap and review of an episode that aired on the BBC Saturday night and not a first season episode that is currently being aired on the Sci Fi Channel Friday nights. I probably don’t need to mention that, but you never know. Now, on with the show.

With the limited experience I have with Doctor Who, I believe the horror themed stories are the best, particularly when they are period pieces. Perhaps other fans can point to some outer space, futuristic adventures that are much better, but for my time and enjoyment, the Bbc does the past much better than the future. I wish the trend would catch on with US television. Deadwood and Rome have been good shows, but haven’t caused much waves. Too bad. The CGI effects in “Tooth & Claw” were also much better than anything we’ve seen previously. I don’t know if that means the budget is better for the second season or if they pulled out the stops for this one and will have a few low key episodes in the remainder of the season. Regardless, I was impressed. The transformation scene was incredibly well done and the werewolf reminded me of the creature from 2004’s Van Helsing movie.

In the opening, a group of warrior monks known as the Brotherhood of the Wolf force their way into a Scottish manor, the Torchwood Estate. The monks remove their robes to reveal some bright red outfits and use some Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon martial arts moves to subdue the staff. The monks carry a covered cage down into the cellar. Meanwhile, the Doctor offers to take Rose to a punk concert in 1979. As often happens, the Doctor makes a mistake traveling and they wind up in 1879 and surrounded by Queen Victoria’s guards. The queen is traveling by carriage because a tree has fallen across the rail line. She suspects an assassination attempt. The doctor’s psychic paper reveals he is to be her appointed protector. He seems genuinely surprised by this, but goes along with it.

The group arrives at the torchwood Manor and decide to stay for the night. The brotherhood are disguised as servants and while Sir Robert, the manor’s lord, tries to dissuade the group, they insist upon staying anyway. Sir Robert shows the Queen and the Doctor his father’s old observatory which he built in his last year of life. The doctor notes there are too many prisms for it to be effective at star gazing. Curiouser and curiouser, as alice might say. Sir Robert also hints of a werewolf legend, but Father Angelo, the head monk, offers to show everyone to their rooms before he can tell the story.

Rose discovers a frightened servant girl hiding in her room who tells her of the cage in the cellar. Rose asures her the doctor will know what to do. The monks offer drugged drinks to the guards outside and capture Rose and the servant girl. They are chained in the cellar with the rest of the real servant staff and the cage. Meanwhile, Sir Robert tells the doctor about the werewolf legend. As the story continues, Father Angelo stares out the window at the full moon. He begin chanting ‘The wolf is god” in Latin.

Down in the cellar, the monks throw open the doors so moonlight will shine on the cage. The man inside quickly and dramatically turns into a werewolf and the chase is on. The plan is for the wolf to bite Queen Victoria so that a line of werewolves can rule the British Empire. The origin of the werewolf is revealed in a book discovered by the Doctor while he, the now escaped Rose, the Queen, and Sir Robert are barricaded in the library. Something crashed in 1540, probably with only a single cell surviving. That cell matured and is now plotting to build an empire with space ship powered by coal and steam. A nightmare version of the Age of Innovation.

Queen Victoria insists she’d rather die than be infected and she requests Sir robert protect something more valuable--a large, specially cut diamond given to her by her late husband. The Doctor surmises the diamond has a special purpose. When the werewolf finally breaks into the library, they all flee to the observatory. The Doctor now knows the telescope is for stargazing--it’s a weapon. He and Rose place the diamond just right and adjust the telescope to reflect the moonlight just as the werewolf gets passed Robert and breaks through the door. The beam hit’s the werewolf, destroying it, but the Queen is cut. Or was she bitten? That is left up in the air.

The Queen knights the Doctor and Rose, then bnishes them for being part of ungodly forces. They honor her wishes. The ueen then establishes the Torchwood Institute, a group intended to battle against whatever dark, strange force may threaten the United Kingdom. Torchwood, as you may recalll, was the name of the alien killing laser in “The Christmas Invasion” as well as an upcoming Doctor Who spinoff. There is quite a bit of foreshadowing that this isn’t the end of the story. Queen Victoria may have in fact been infected and that leads to the parallel Earth that will be prominently featured in episodes later this seaon. That is just speculation on my part at the moment.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Communication Skills

You know something that has been on my mind lately? A dog makes three distint sounds: bark, ruff, and bow wow. But a duck can only go "quack." The duck got gypped in the communications department. I mean, really--how many mallards out there are speech therapists? None, I would gather. That's a whole industry whose door is closed to them.

I'll bet they can't be doctors, either, and not just because of the no hands thing. They'd all be considered quacks. Pity the poor ducks.
Bush to Probe Gas Prices

Indeed. I'm sure there are some cheaters out there price gouging--there always are. But otherwise, Mr. President, i can save the taxpayers a wad of dough, maybe enough to put a tank of gas on layaway, by telling you why gas is so expensive. It isn't oil companies cheating consumers.

You see, New Orleans is a big port for oil in the United states, both shipping and producing, and that city lies in ruins. the iraqi insurgents are attacking the oil pipeline anytime and in anyway they can because they realize oil revenues are being used to rebuild the country. There is also a fear that you are on the verge of attacking Iran. as soon as bombs start falling on Tehran, the iranians are going to block the Gulf and all oil exports. How does $100 a barrel of oil grab you?

There's the problem, mr. president. No solutions, mind you. Just problems. Somehow wasting money pointing fingers at phantom price gougers doesn't seem like much of a solution, either, but you have been a little hapless of late, so I'll let it slide. What's a couple of million dollar priced probe among friends--especially in an election year?
Cathy's Clown

Today's video is for that rarest of creature: one who likes country music, old cowboy movies, and the science fiction series Babylon 5. Am I the only such creature? Probably.

Anyway, this is a video of Reba McEntire's cover and gender bend of the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown." The video is set in the old west and most of the extras snickering at our hero for being manipulated by Cathy are actors who have made their careers starring in cowboy movies and television shows. Our unnamed hero is played by Bruce Boxleitner after his role as Scarecrow on Scarecrow & Mrs. King but before he took the reins of Babylon 5 as Capt. John Sheridan.

I believe this video is from 1988 or '89. It was just before Garth Brooks came along and turned country into rock & roll with a twang, a change the genre has yet to recover from.

UPDATE: Okay, it's hypocritical of me to complain about Garth Brooks bringing rock & roll into country when Reba McEntire is covering a rock song in the video I'm posting. Fair enough, although I really think Reba is applying a country style to a rock song and not the other way around like Garth. I'm picking nits, but I hate to admit when I'm being a hypocrit. Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.

While we are nowhere near the subject, Reba looks in 2006 exactly the way she looked 17-18 years ago. It's pretty amazing.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lindsay Lohan Bikini Photos

Supposedly, Tina Fey organized an intervention for Lindsay Lohan when she hosted Saturday Night Live a few weeks back. I don't know that lohan's life is any more messed up than any other Star who has hosted the show in recent memory (Paris Hilton and the olsen twins come immediately to mind) but it's nice of fey to play surrogate mother. They do seem to have some attachment to one another--o at least they did. Lohan noticeably avoided the cast at the after the show party. oh, well. here's sme nearly naked Lindsay Lohan:
You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary.
I Wish You All the Best, Mi Amigo

You have a long, nasty road ahead of you.
The Meaning of Life

Go watch this film. It last less than three minutes and I‘ll be here waiting for you when you get back. *Taps foot to the opening in the opening beats of “Hotel California”*

Oh, you’re back. Good. No, you didn’t miss anything here. Joe Walsh does it better. Anyway, how long did it take you to get annoyed by the self-righteous, self-congratulatory, and self-contradictory nature of that film? I sat through the whole thing twice (God bless me) in order to absorb it all. I am forever amaze at the atheist philosopher’s attempt to find meaning in life while at the same time dismissing every possible meaning he comes across. Thereby I suppose the meaning of life is no meaning and when you come to that conclusion, you are enlightened. If that logic doesn’t make your eyes roll around in your head, you are too cynical for your own good--and that’s coming from a guy who is cynical enough to make H L. Mencken with shame.

I have never understood the contradiction of humanist philosophy that man is both just another animal and yet somehow elevated. As a Christian, I believe man is made in the image of God and therefore holds a higher status and purpose than animals. What precisely elevates man according to this fellow’s scheme of thought? Apparently nothing. He is even such a fatalist as to say there is no reason for ma to seek happiness because, hey, the animals don’t do it. Why should we?

The thing that got me was the bit on religion. The “monkeys” need to find meaning, so they create gods to worship and then begin fighting over which god is the best. If that isn’t an example of the smug outside looking in yet know it all attitude, which assumes 85% of the world’s population are idiots--I don’t know what is. I’m in that 85%, but I’m no idiot. I understand full well that guru in India dills just spiritually filled as tom Cruise does jumping on Oprah’s couch and I do praying at my bedside at night--although I say, without ego, that I am more secure in my belief. The creator of his film obviously feels fulfilled knocking everyone else’s beliefs all the while revealing his own lost sense of self-loathing. I wrote a week ago that I am trying to not spend time mocking the weeds in someone else’s garden. Maybe I’m being hypocritical here, but I think this is more the exception that proves the rule.

I walk a fine line here. I always have, because I haven’t been much of an overt evangelist. I honestly think that is more of a calling for some ty for every Christian. Maybe I’m making excuses, but I’ve just never been any good at it. I’ve always believed it was better to be “a light in a dark world” and I’ve had a tough enough time living up to that ideal. I’ve already confessed numerous times to possessing a cynical, satirical nature which I fell can’t be shaken off due to my own personal experiences. I do feel better upon watching humanist spout off their viewpoints on life, like one has done here. It reassures me that I am on the right track with a better understanding of human nature, the role of faith, and the reason for committing evil and the excuse for doing evil. .That realization makes me feel a little less cynical about life in general.
Crescent City Election

There’s good news and bad news for New Orleans Mayor ray Nagin. The good news is he made it into the May 20th runoff with 38% of the vote. The bad news is 62% of voters din’t vote for him Nagin will face Lt. Gov. Mitch Landreiu in the runoff. Landreiu is a famous name in Louisiana in general, and New Orleans in particular. Mitch’s father was Moon Landreiu, a popular mayor in the ‘70’s famous for crossing racial lines and bringing blacks into his administration before joining Jimmy Carter’s presidential cabinet. Mitch is also the brother of Sen. Mary Landreiu, a Friend of Bill (Clinton). He’s well connected, moneyed, and has a pedigree.

Nagin hasn’t been able to sew up the all important black vote in the city. Landreiu has been able to cross the racial lines well, particularly among older blacks who remember his father fondly. Nagin damaged himself with white voters after his speech shotly after Katrina in which he proclaimed that God wants New Orleans to be a chocolate city again. He later apologized, but the damage was done.

Some serious complications hamper Nagin. Most of the black population has not returned to the city. They are scattered about in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and other places. Many Katrina evacuees have been bused in for the sole purpose of voting, but much of Nagin’s base hasn’t been heard from at the ballot box. The rev. Jesse Jackson has gone on record saying he will challenge the election results no matter who wins because he feels black voters have been disenfranchised. He is most likely correct, but this is a tough situation for election officials. Keeping track of former residents, some of whom have been forced to live like gypsy caravans and others who have given up and restablished themselves in other cities, is nearly impossible. It probably won’t matter how the Rev. Jackson feels. I’d be surprised to discover he has standing to bring a suit. More than likely, he’ll elbow in on someone else’s earnest suit just for the media exposure.

Something puzzles me about the whole affair. I confess I don’t know the backroom situation in Louisiana politics. There is an incrowd and an out crowd in every government at every level and even those that appear to be in may only be deluding themselves. For example, our sitting Lt. Gov. Andre Baer has, in just a few short years, gone from State Representative State Senator to a step away fro the Governor’s mansion all on his daddy’s money and connections. Bauer is just a few years older and ten years more immature than I am. He is about to have his clock cleaned in the GOP primary by political novice Mike Campbell, son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell. Outside of the state looking in, that wouldn’t seem as much a foregone conclusion as it does former Palmetto State pundits. With that in mind, I am wondering why Landreiu would want to run for mayor while he is one step away from the governor’s mansion, particularly when Gov. Blanco has a black eye from Katrina and his sister is a popular statewide office holder?

The lure of an executive position is strong, granted. Ask any member of Congress whether he’d like to continue in Congress or serve as mayor of Los Angeles and I’ll grant you a large chunk would like nothing better than be the top dog there rather than part of the exclusive Congressional Club. But governor has to be a prettier prize than mayor? What gives, beyond wanting to coast on his father’s coattails?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The West Wing--"Transition"

One of the nasty things about the over saturation of media nowadays--and they are legion--is that nothing comes as a surprise. Only by living in a bubble could you not see the big reveal of the opening gambit coming. A haggard Josh Lymon is flying from DC to the West Coast. he winds up in a limo half-heatedly chatting with the driver who was a Vinick supporter. Josh finally arrives at his destination where he bursts in on a lawyers’ meeting. One of the lawyer’s turns around--ta da. It’s Sam Seaborn, former White House Deputy Communications Director not seen since 2003 when he fell on his sword in a hopeless run for Congress in Orage County, California.

Josh offers Sam the Deputy Chief of Staff position to which he refuses, saying he doesn’t want to wind up looking like Josh. It’s a pretty serious concern--Josh has been running himself to death gathering together a staff for Santos. Anyway, Josh twists sam’s arm to think about it and he’ll get back to him. Meanwhile, the President Elect is himself quite busy. He isn’t fond of Battlet’s plan--or lack there of--in Kazakstan. He takes it upon himself to call the Chinese president personally, a serious violation of protocol during the transition from one president to another. Santos expresses concern about the US military involvement there with no exit strategy. H can’t wait two months until the inauguation to make a move.

With all the talk of unwise military excursions, risk of an expansive war, and no exit strategy, I was expecting some over the top critique of the war in Iraq. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a single overt one. Surprising considering the episode was written by former Clinton staffer Lawrence O’Donnel. Kudos to him for not banging us over the end with dated politics in the final episodes of the show.

It turns out the phone call to the Chinese president was a plan to play good cop/bad cop with Bartlet. The idea is to capitalize on Santos’ military experience to scare the heck out of China and Russia. Other bits wrap up as well. Sam arrives in DC in time to view Josh blow up at a junior staffer for no reason. He says he’ll take the job as Deputy only if Josh takes a vacation. Josh agrees and, in a nod to the relation shippers out there, is seen on the plane with Donna.

There wasn’t much going on here, especially for one of the final three episodes of the series. I guess longtime fans will be satisfie since they get Sam back. I think there will be a lot of questions as to why Sam wasn’t at leo’s funeral. If Rob Lowe was going to return to the show, I think that should have been his first episode back.

Rating: ** (out of 5)
Casino Royale Script Review

Ain’t It Cool News has a script review up for the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale. There are a fair amount of spoilers both in that link and few in my post here, so beware if you don’t want to know plot elements. I knew the net film was going to be a throw back to Ian Fleming’s original Bond from the novels. After perusing the script review, it appears the Powers that be behind Casino Royale regret the over the top villains that have been a staple of Bond films since Auric Goldfinger and the comic book elements of the roger Moore years. I can’t argue with that. Die Another day may be the highest grossing bond film ever, but with its invisible car, Halle Berry’s “jive turkey” attitude, the implausible DNA shenanigans, merited the franchise being shot in the head and retooled.

Retooled it has been. Casino Royale, though set in the present day (there are 9/11 references and the villain is a banker for terrorists.), this is the beginning of Bond’s spy career. The opening action sequence depicts how he earns his double “0” status--by assassination to of Her Majesty’s sworn enemies. But death is grisly and ugly. Bond isn’t used to it. In fact, his discomfort is a major plot point for both him and hs love interest, Vesper. I do find some of that difficult to swallow. Granted, Bond is revealed to be an orphan whodid not come fro money and therefore has some insecurities. But one would assume someone who has risen to the rank of Commander in the Royal Navy and distinguished himelf enough to be recruited by MI6 would have put that behind him and toughened up.

All that said, I do like the idea of a character study of Bond. Frankly, there isn’t much at stake in the plot here. The villain, Le Chiffe, loses his fortune in a bomb plot and initiates a high stakes card game to win it back. No would be world conquerors here. Just a green as the first grass of spring secret agent going after a low level nuisance because the UK government wants him gone. This movie I all about Bond trying to find his place in a post Cold war world when he hasn’t has any Cold War experience to compare to draw from. The bad guys aren’t as clearly defined, the morality of things a bit grayer. That is all interesting. The Bond films are notorious for their lack of character development. I’d like to see Bond progress from a na├»ve, young agent to the stoic cold blooded killer with an arrogance that allows him to be cruel.

I’ll bet a lot of older fans are going to be disappointed by the reboot. I have very little emotional attachment to Bond in general. To me, they are fun movies to kill a few hours with, although as I hinted at above, I rolled my eyes at the silliness of the last one. I’m glad to see a back to basics Bond which sounds more like the great From Russia With Love and less like the truly awful Moonraker. Of course, if this flops, Daniel Craig will be the new George Lazenby and the next film will feature Clive Owen battling some Japanese megalomaniac trying to blow up the moon. Choose wisely when buying movie tickets, Bond fans.
Monster in a Wheelchair

This isn't completely tsteless--just enough to be funny. Heh.
Endless, Sleepless Night

It's been a rough day. I can't sleep, but I don't want to write about it. Exactly translated, that means you get pictures of the lovely Reese Witherspoon in the middle of the night, sans nude, naked, or bikini photos.

You may click to enlarge any photos should you deem it necessary.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Haunted House

Here is an old Disney cartoon from the 1940's featuring Mickey Mouse being trapped in a haunted house and forced to play a dance number for a bunch of skeletons. Rumors have flown over the years about why the cartoon was banned. The most common are about parents groups fearful of Satanic imagery scaring their kids. There are no such images. According to a documentary I saw six or seven years ago, "Haunted House" was banned for two reasons. First, the mammy joke Mickey makes when the lights go out was deemed racist. second, there is a scene towards the end in which a bed comes out of the wall. In the bed are two skeletons, clearly a (former) man and a woman. That was considered too racy for kids today, but no apparently in the '40's. Go figure.

It's a good but creepy cartoon nonetheless.
Heavy Metal: Cybermen v. Iron Man

I am fully aware making any comments regarding Doctor Who, newcomer Philistine that I am, can spark of major conflict. The last controversy also involved the Cybermen as well. It blew over fat enough that I now keep the light saber in my closet instead of under my pillow. It has a green blade, which means I’m a good guy but a little edgy. Anyway, I frequently go where angels fear to tread, so here I am again.

That’s the updated Cybermen design that will be featured in the current Doctor Who season. If I am not mistaken, it will be their first television appearance since 1988’s “Silver Nemesis,’ one of the few non-Tom Baker stories I am familiar with. Being more a part of comic book fandom, I noted the similarities between the new Cybermen and the “War Machine” armor Iron Man sported in the mid-’90’s. that is not to say there is any direct copying or even influence. It just brought up some fond memories for me.

Back in the ’90’s, Marvel Comics ruled the roost of the comics world. Even their worst selling titles had print runs hovering in the six figures, far outpacing DC. A group of Marvel’s top artists made an exodus to form their own comics publisher called Image. They became top dogs quickly with creator owned works featuring gritty characters. These characters had two things in common. Most wore trench coats even over their costumes for some inexplicable reason and they all had big guns. The bigger the better. This trend filtered back to Marvel. The X-Men, for one, largely abandoned their costumes for trenh coats and virtually everyone, including Spiderman, found an excuse to pack a huge cannon of a weapon at one time or another.

The trench coat style fell out of favor after the 1999 shootings by the Tren Chcoat Mafia in Littleton, Colorado and the more mainstream characters found less use for guns as well. But during the height of all that, the Iron man armor was redesigned to highlight a darker image. The armo had been red and gold for decades, save for a period of time when the gold was replaced by silver. The picture above shows the black and silver scheme with a huge shoulder mounted cannon. Funny thing, no one ever managed to be killed by being shot with it. Funny that.

I do believe iron man has gone back to the red and gold scheme. They change his armor periodically to shake thing up, but often go back to basics every few years to appease the nostalgia buffs. Apparently, I have become one of them at the ripe old age of 29.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yes, But You See...

I don't have to--and neither do you.
Doctor Who--"The Long Game"

After the allusions to 9/11 and the Bush Administration in “Aliens of London” I thought this episode might be an indictment of media in general and FOX news in specific. I’m thinking the UK might be spared the network’s 8ahem* fair and balanced nature. I do recall FOX reporters crawling all over London after the bombings on 7/7, but that was months after “The Long game” aired. If there were any major references, I missed them. Personally, I like perusing the BBC website for news. Try it sometime and you’ll feel gypped about what American news sources report on.

The TARDIS lands the Doctor, Rose, and Adam on a pace station in the year 200,000. They are in the middle of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. The Doctor is quite plased to be in this time period when mankind’s manners are refined and cultured. Unfortunately, everyone around the place is loud, pushy, and eating junk food. Something is amiss. The Doctor investigates as he sends rose and Adam off to eat. Adam is overwhelmed by everything and misses his family. Rose gives him her modified phone to call home to his parents.

Meanwhile, the Doctor meets Cathica, a reporter who believe he is part of management. She answers his questions believing it will help her get promoted to Flooe 500, a room supposedly lined in gold. Adam and rose rejoin the Doctor and Cathica in a room in which several reporters are sitting in a circle. A beam shoots from a device into each one o their heads. The beams are transmitting every bit of current human knowledge. The Doctor is wary. This is evil technology. There is a subplot involving an anarchist infiltrator among the recipients of the knowledge, but that’s a McGuffin to bring the enigmatic Editor into the proceedings.

Something has stunted human growth for about 90 years and the Doctor figures he‘ll find what it is on Floor 500. The Editor allows him to make his way there where all is revealed. The empire has been usurped by an alien called Jagrafess. The entire space station is his life support system. The editor captures and interrogates the Doctor and Rose as there are no records o either of them. Thanks to some shenanigans by Adam, who has had an implant placed in his head to connect with the computer system, the Editor learns about everything. Cathica overhears the back and forth between the Editor and the Doctor and hooks herself up to the computer system in order to reverse everything with the knowledge she has gained. The Jagrafess dies as his life support system is shut down, freeing humans to progress as they should.

The Doctor dumps Adam back in his own time because of the trouble he has caused. Adam has attempted to send back all the knowledge of the future to his parents’ answering machine by using Roe’s cell phone. He very nearly got the Doctor and Rose killed, not to mention keeping humanity enslaved. The implant remains in his head until his mother snaps her fingers and discovers it just before the credits roll.

I was a bit under whelmed by this one. It was a whodunnit in space just like “The End of the World.” It wasn’t bad, mind you. It just seemed like so much filler. By the end of the season, the events of “The Long game” will seem more pivotal, so I am going to wait untl the whle Bad Wolf story plays out before I pass judgment too harshly.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Everyone Enjoys Sunny Spring Days

Star Trek XI in 2008

A new Star Trek film is on the way for 2008 reports Daily Variety. It will feature the long rumored “Starfleet Academy” story line, detailing the early history of Spock and Kirk. The best news? The creators behind the film are J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kutzman of Alias fame and Damon Lindelof, the executive producer of Lost.

Harve Bennett, the longtime producer of the movies featuring the original cast, penned a script in the ‘80’s about the original crew at the Academy. It has passed around Hollywood and some lucky fans since then, but the success of Star Trek: the Next Generation kept it from coming to pass. The gist of the franchise became a theme of looking ahead, not behind. I am not certain how many, if any, elements from that script will be in the new film o if Abrams will completely rework it to be his own.

I am nervous about the idea of prequels. Enterprise was the first series since the original to be cancelled before its planned ending. I think most folks were disappointed with the Star Wars prequels as well, whether they consider it blasphemy to admit or not. The suspense is gone out of them just by virtue of the concept and fans have a difficult time suspending disbelief. Just why does the past look so much more sophisticated and futuristic than the future? Another concern: the last movie, Nemesis, earned only $43 million at the box office. We may have to embrace the reality that the Star Trek has burned out.
Walk of Life

Billie Piper, who plays the current Doctor Who companion, Rose Tyler, has been a popular addition to my celebrity roster. Later on tonight we get a new episode of Doctor Who (actually, we don't. It's a year old, but never aired in the US. The new episodes air in the Uk and we don't get those yet unless you cheat on the internet. So new isn't new even though I'm watching both at the same time and are new to...uggh. See what you've made me do?) Anyway, before joining the cast, Billie was a rock star of some fame in the UK. I don't think her success translated too well across the pond.

Nevertheless, I looked up a couple of her videos on YouTube. calling her a rock star is a bit of a stretch. She reminds me of britney Spears, Chistina Aquilera, or (dare i say it?) Jessica Simpson. I confess I did not watch an entire video, but I sat through the one I link below for a good thirty to forty-five seconds before wanting to kick a puppy, (Lexi was safe in the other room, fokks. Don't worry.) so I deemed it the best. This is her final video to boot.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jessica Simpson Bikini Photos

The great part about this here blogging thingy is that when you mention you've only got one new Jessica Simpson bikini pic, within hours, someone will produce more for you out of the goodness of their heart. Next time I'll say I need a solution to world hunger and maybe someone out there can find a solution as fast as he can find pictures of Jessica Simpson's butt.

You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary.
Irony Makes My World Spin

Today in the White house Rose Garden, President Bush urged Chinese President Hu to allow for more free dissent in China. Just after he did, a dissdent heckled President Hu and was hauled away by uniformed Secret Service agents. Other blogs have some reasoned and/or idealistic analysis of the incident. Check them out for whichever floats you boat. As for me, I just liked the irony of it all, tasteless as that may be.
Jessica Simpson XII

It's been a while since I've posted some Jessica Simpson pics. The poor girl has had nothing but bad news lately as she has been on the fast track to Pamela Anderson-dom. She seems to be dropping in popularity all around, but she's been a boon to the Eye andi I firmly believe you gotta dance with the one that brought you. Here's a few photos of Jessica for you. Only one bikini photo this time and none are nude or naked. Oops.

You may click to enlarge any photos should you deem it necessary.