Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good Riddance, August

'Nuff said.
Trump Fires Carolyn

I finally lost interest in The Apprentice early last season. It was becoming too repetitive and a blatant commercial for products of the week. In fact, the latter aspect is the only thing keeping the lukewarm rated show on the air regardless of what Trump’s ego may have you think about what a hit the show is. Companies have been falling all over themselves to have an episode built around their product. The show plans to rotate outside of New York in order for companies based in other cities to get in on the action.

One person who will not be getting in on future action is Carolyn Kepcher, Trump’s blonde assistant who observes one of the teams every week. Kepcher has been there from the beginning, and her star has been rising. She is normally the manager of Trump’s golf course in upstate New York, but has been spending more time lately with speaking engagements. Trump was getting increasingly frustrated with his inability to get in touch with her and finally fired her when he was unable to contact her recently.

Her spot on the show will be taken by Trump’s daughter who periodically filled in last season. I, for one, could not care less anymore, but I did enjoy The Apprentice and Carolyn for a while.
Joseph Stefano (1922-2006)

Joeph Stefano, screenwriter for Robert Bloch's Psycho and the creator of The Outer Limits, has died.

I recall seeing Psycho on a number of occasions and while it is not my cup of tea, I recognize it as a giant in that genre. I have liked The Outer Limits since I was very young. The show gets unfairly criticized as a knockoff of The Twilight Zone, which it is not. The Twilight Zone was meant to be morality plays featuring fantastic elements. The Outer Limits was a monster of the week thriller that might occasionally be a cautionary tale, but often just goofy fun. At the very least, I had goofy fun. Besides, my hero, Harlan Ellison speaks highly of the show. An episode he penned, "Demon with a Glass Hand," is one of my all time favorites.

Godspeed, Mr. Stefano.
Rose Tyler: Earth Defense

You think K-9 & Company sounds like a bad idea? Try this. Doctor Who head honcho Russell T. Davies has considered the possibility of making Billie Piper the 11th Doctor, giving her a cameo in future seasons, and now her own show on the Alternate Earth she was stranded on in "Doomsday." If he wwre not gay as a French horn, I would swear the two of them were having a torrid love affair that she is constantly threatening to break off.

Now that i think about it, the Doctor did quip that Rose was the defender of Earth after she mentioned she was working for Torchwood at the end of "Doomsday." Looks like the spinoff was foreshadowed there and only recently canned.

The details:
'"It was going to be fantastic. We'd have had a lovely budget and done brilliant things with it, maybe one Bank Holiday special a year."
Now here is the off his rocker part:
"Davies added that the decision to abandon the programme cost him "a fortune."
He bought a whole knew notebook and pack of crayons to scratch out the plot which offers a lot of insight as to how "Love & monsters" was scripted. I figured the script was written in crayon on a cocktail napkin in some seedy West End bar. looks like my guess was not too far off.

What is next? Harriet Jones: Prime Minister's Questions?
OPPOSITION LEADER: When is the Prime Minister going to come up with a proper term for more than one Dalek? The chavs are calling them a posse! how appallingly american!

[The party murmurs angrily.]

HARRIETT JONES: Since they look like pepper pots, I propse we call them a cruet of Daleks, but I know both the Americans and the opposition party have no clue what the word means.
All kidding aside, this would be one spinoff too many, even if I am rather fond of Billie Piper and rose. the character shined best in the first season as the troubled Ninth Doctor's conscience. i am not as confident she would make a reliable hero on her own.
(Sick as a) Dog Days of August

It is difficult to believe it has been one month since I had my surgery. A lot happened in the interim. Much of it was slow moving time. Time in a hospital drags at a glacial pace, especially when you are feeling bad but not in any overwhelming, constant pain. When I first checked in for surgery, I had no idea what was about to occur. While this was not some simple procedure, it was supposed to be a straightforward affair: painful, yet full recovery in a couple of weeks. The whole idea behind it was to keep an organ from falling through the whole left by open scar tissue thereby eliminating the possibility of a bowel obstruction. Well, instead of eliminating the possibility, I caused three of them simultaneously.

That is my luck. I sat in the surgeon’s office on an examining table and just randomly mentioned to my sister that I had not had a surgery in fifteen years that did not result in nasty consequences. The “lucky” surgery all those years ago was a double hip replacement which had a charm all it’s own and really did not require a further gauging of my eyes. My statement was poo pooed as a product of my general fatalism. Things got quieter just a few days later.

The days dragged on miserably until an almost miraculous turnaround which spared me for a nasty additional surgery that would not onlt have rendered the first operation pointless (they would have to go through the first incision, remove the mesh patch, and root around my open abdomen) but would have resulted in a vivisection of my small intestine just like my colon a couple of years ago. I was looking at a major operation and months of recovery just like before. It was not a pleasant thought made doubly worse by the fact that aside from counting ceiling tiles or glucose drops from the IV, there wasn’t much else to think about.

A day or two before surgery, I wrote here that I almost always woke up from surgery with a new perspective on things. Nothing dramatic, just some new things to think about. I speculated it was the dreamless sleep of anesthesia. It beats me if that is true or not and I have to admit not much inspiration came to me until I was laid up with the obstruction. Those were the moments to be reflective, dark, and decisive. It was three weeks of me lying in bed with a literal gnawing emptiness inside my gut. Since then, I have had my head on a little straighter with a better ability to make sense of things. At least as much sense as you can make out of these things. As things get more random, I find it difficult to determine the life lesson in it or the value one could possibly have even if I did find it.

There are not many people out there who soul search over these things at all. I do not blame them, really. There is a certain comfort in believing fate just randomly bonks you on the head with a hammer, but the it will never happen again. “We’re on easy street from now on,” is the biggest lie your head will ever tell you. Friends have complained often about my pessimism then compliment me on my toughness in the face of adversity without seeing the correlation between the two. I am okay with that as well. I have always chalked it up to a defense mechanism that people do not want to give these things more thought than they have to. Heh. I know I am sounding like a egotist here describing my “deep, existential” thoughts on life. I do not mean to.I am intending only to get them down in writing rather than keeping them bottled up. What is a blog if not a place for arrogant self-indulgence? It has been a rotten, but insightful month. It ought to be chronicled.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Every Man's Fantasy

Jessica Simpson: seen but not heard. Ranks right up there with finding a deaf mute nymphomniac who owns a Ferrari dealership.You may click to enlarge the photo should you deem it necessary. there are plenty more photos linked on the sidebar.
Star Trek: TOS Gets New Effects

Paramount, ever eager to squeeze every last dollar out of the sagging franchise, has plans to add high definition effects to Star Treh: the Original Series (“TOS”). Somerthing like this happening has been rumored for years, more or less since George Lucas updated that other franchise with new special effects. An early eample was made of a space battle featured in the episode “The Doomsday Machine” that has been floating around the web and conventions for quite some time. The new effects blend in quite well with the forty year old episode and Greedo does not shoot first, thank goodness.

It is not entirely clear whether this is primarily motivated by money or if it is an effort to match up effects with the J. J. Abrams helmed Star Trek XI expected to hit theaters in 2008. Being a cynic, I assume it is a little of both. I know full well there are an awful lot of Trekkers out there who own the original DVD set of TOS but will may what will no doubt be an “enhanced” price for an “enhanced” DVD set of the series. That it will promote Abrams’ Trek is just icing on the cake.

Speaking of the new trek, Paramount has approached William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy about appearing in the film. Nimoy speculates their characters would introduce the film as a flashback. After seeing a bloated Shatner at his Comedy Central Roast the other night, I am not so sure that would not be too pitiful to bear. Peehaps he should stick to Denny Crane from here on out.The new enhancements look pretty good, actually.
The Plame Game

Richard Armitage admits to being the source of blowing CIA agent Valerie Plame's cover Well, that was anticlimatic. I guess we will never know what the heck being "frog marched" is all about, either. Bummer.
4 x 6 Art

Inspired by his grandfather's autograph collection, Jeremy Adolphson sends off 4x6 index cards to various artists with return postage, hoping for a drawing. This website is the result. There are some surprisingly big names in comics and animation contributing.

That is interesting considering in the E*Bay Age, comic book artists are becoming more reluctant to draw quickie free sketches for fans like like used to even as recently as the mid-90's. A shame, really. I have a few nice things from my conventioning days that were done because I asked politely that would cost me a bundle to get today.
The Legacy of Katrina

When the history of Hurricane Katrina is written, that photo of the looter is going to go down as the key image. It will do so because it is indicative of the prevalent idea that made the disaster as bad as it was: all parties involved said, “Every man for himself.” I will freely admit I do not know where blame lies. FEMA? Bush? Nagin? Blanco? Maybe there is no real value in pointing fingers. Louisiana in general and New Orleans specifically have a special sense of fatalism. Huge chunks of the commonwealth disappear into the Gulf of Mexico every year. New Orleans itself is constantly sinking. Even without Katrina, the city was well on its way to becoming the Venice of North america.

I do not believe there is any reason to be maudlin about the hurricane one year later as a number of news reports and retrospectives have done in the last few days. Residents of New Orleans who want to come back have. Those who have scattered to the wind and found better places to be never will. The city council knew this when it issued the order to bulldoze hones that have not yet been reclaimed. The cries of losing New Orleans forever were for nothing. It will yet again be a shipping, oil refining, and cultural center again.

Convention wisdom says whatever problem that occurred with the levees has been repaired. Conventional wisdom means nothing with as corrupt a political system as Louisiana has. Dirty politics has been a staple of Pelican State government long before Huey Long showed up. One has to assume even the dirtiest, most self-interested government realizes some expenses have to becovered in order to keep the gravy train running. I have few doubts New Orleans will be ready for a second bouut should it come.

Like I said above, when history is written, the photo of the looter will be remembered s the heart and soul of the matter. I believe history will record Katrina as the time Bush lost his footing as president as well. It will not be the biggest blot on his record. Most definitely Iraq will haunt him to the grave as Vietnam did to LBJ and Nixon. 9Before any conservatives start throwing a hissy fit at me, Nixon ended US involvement in Vietnam and got no credit for it for so, so Bush is screwed now win or lose.) At no point since Katrina has Vush looked presidential and until January 2009, he will not. That, I believe, will be the biggest legacy of the hurricane.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Anchors Away

A CNN anchor forgets to turn off her mic before going to the bathroom. We get to hear the whole sordid aaffair, including her insulting her sister-in-law, while we watch a live Bush press conference. Absolutely priceless.
Saddam Forced to Watch Himself in South Park?

I do not for one second believe this article is true.. It is not that I doubt Saddam may have seen Bigger, Longer, and Uncut--maybe even in custody--but being forced to do so sounds like some silly anti-American propaganda. There have long since been rumors that Saddam was a fan of American television and action movies. Tariq Aziz, one of his right hand men, had a large DVD collection when his home was raided in 2003. With Saddam not being a strict Muslim, odds are he may have seen it before on his own. Heck, in the movie he subdues satan. for all we know, he was flattered.

I cannot see Saddam himself not complaining in court if he was subjected to something like that if he was offended. There is a fully stocked library and a collection of movies to which Gitmo prisoners have access to. surely Saddam as a former head of state has even better privileges in Iraq.

This is not without precedent. Adolf Hitler requested to see Charlie Chaplin's satire of him, The Great Dictator, and watched it at least twice. No word on what he thought of it, but Chaplin often said if he could have one question answered in his entire life, that would be it.
Whatever Happened to Sarah Connor?

We may find out next television season. FOX and Warner Bros. Have paired up to produce a pilot called The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It will detail the lives of Sarah and her son John as they go on the lam after the events of Terminator II. If you sat through Terminator III--and may the Lord bless you if you did--you will recall John revealed to the future robotic governor of California and the beanpole chick from My So Called Life that his mother had died while they were on the run. The idea for this series had been gestating even before that foreshadowing.

The pilot will be directed by David Nutter. He has directed the pilots for Smallville, Supernatural, Without a Trace, and nine more, all of which became series. Odds are good this one will as well.

How will a Terminator spin off without the Terminator fly? Hard to say. One assumes Skynet plays a part in the whole thing and surely there will be some time travel elements. But one has to assume a whole lot of exoskeletons are not going to show up even on a high profile television project. Even the last Terminator movie, while a hit, did fairly soft box office by Arnold’s standards. Even if he had not trotted off to run California, the movie was clearly his last $ 20 million+ payday, if not his final action movi ever. I am thinking the franchie’s time has passed, but I may be surprised.
Crazy as Hurley

is Hugo Hurley nuttier than squirrel poop? It is a distinct possibility. My new music video features some of his odder, delusional moments from the second season of Lost. The video is set to "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Yes, I have used that song before in a Doctor Who video. Originality is overrated. Innovative thinkers are the first ones to face a firing squad once the revolution comes. Remember that and enjoy the video.
Avant Nerdism

Is science fiction fandom becoming cool? In a word, no. The linked article is a fine example of why I nixed studying journalism early on in my college application process. Journalists have this nasty habit of creating interesting stories rather than going out and finding what is already there. In doing so, they tend to make mountains out of molehills. And hey, if they misrepresent a subculture, so what? The “sub” part of it mean you will never have anything to do with it anyway.

That is not true as far as I am concerned. I am a science fiction fan and was an avid comic book collector before my retina detached. I never indulged in the full culture, however. I never wore Spock ears, played with a light saber, or wore a Spider-Man tee shirt. I knew plenty of people that did. Oftentimes, I thought they were just as nutty as you are probably thinking they are right now. That is true even though we had the same interests and probably could have geeked out for hours. Lord, I hate the term “geek.” Its use is the subculture’s way of expanding its numbers and you get included--kicking and screaming if necessary.

I kept my science fiction and comic book affection to myself throughout high school and college. It was like a secret pleasure I had and no one else knew about. Hence the above paragraph’s point that I never embraced the outward signs. I recall once in my sophomore year, a friend came into my dorm room, spied a stack of comic books that had been bagged and back boarded for easy filing, and proclaimed, “You like comic books? You don’t seem like the type.” Indeed. I believe my only outward concession at the time was an X-Files poster on my wall.

I figure I was being true to myself. I was--at least I thought at the time--I was on the path to a yuppie career in law. I wanted to do yuppie things and hang out with yuppie people. My more fanciful indulgences wwre the equivalent of a pig rolling in mud every now and then. We all do that when no one is looking. If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have been a little more relaxed about things. I have spoken very poorly of regent and its inhabitants and (hopefully. God help us if it is not.) unique in its abundant ignorance, bigotry, and colorlessness. If I had known I did not have to be a yuppie because I thankfully was not going to fit in anyway, I would have had a lot more fun those last few years.

I am still not convinced there is a particular subculture of science fiction geeks. Certainly there is a sense of people alienated from the mainstream when you take a look around a comic book or Star Trek convention, as I have done. You are going to find a whole lot of handicapped people or socially awkward or those that are hard into math or the sciences and have a hard time fitting in with whatever passes for normal society. (Go ahead. Try to define it. I will wait on you.) But that is not quite so different as any other social group. People are people.

Science fiction riter David Gerrold once said that drama was all about flawed human beings and their problems. Dramatic stories deal will the dark side of life and people haplessly trying to complete themselves. Meanwhile, science fiction is about what happens next. It is theoretical and forward looking. Hence it attracts brilliant, innovative thinkers who spend most of their time contemplating outside the box. Such an attraction is so strong, it transcend race, color, creed, religion, and sexual orientation.

I do not buy it. Yes, the above stereotype I just described fit a great deal of science fiction fandom, but no where near a majority. Fandom is 99% male, white, and upper middle class to wealthy. They do not have prom dates or baseball trophies, but they do have daddy’s wallet to buy model kits of the Death Star and Superman action figures (Still in the package, of course) from 1985) while at the same time wishing someone would free them from the evil clutches of the father who just does not understand why his kid cannot hit an inside fastball or identify the parts of a naked girl correctly when the third dimension is present.

All right, that hit’s a little close to home. I have been disabled my entire life and my father was an athlete most of his. Actually, my mother was, too. She ran track for years, but was a lot more open about me exploring my own interests, whatever they may be. My father never cared much for my yuppie ambitions or science fiction pastimes. It was your typical jock/nerd passive aggressive conflict. My on concession there wound up a disappointment. We tried starting a baseball card collection. I could not get emotionally attached to pieces of cardboard to save my soul, but I did follow the value fluctuations like a steely eyed stock broker. Comics fluctuate in value as well and I would pay lip service to being interested in that aspect, but deep down, I wanted comics because I liked them. I could not imagine parting with them. But baseball cards? Buy low, sell high, purchase comics with the profit. Oops. That is not how to build up a baseball card collection, huh? Silly me.

So is engaging in this sort of thing not so much enjoying the comraderie of likeminded folk, but an act of rebellion? Probably. Like I said, I kept it largely to myself just to be completely different from my public persona. Perhaps there are a lot of folks out there who are not as inclined to shake their fists in the general direction of any particular expectations and actually enjoy the comraderie of fandom more than the content of whatever genre or media is their favorite. If so, good for them. There are too many lonely people in the world as it is. But I cannot help but think the article is wrong. Geek ain’t chic. It is just a pastime that can appeal to just about anyone.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jessica Simpson XVIII

You say you have not had a Jessica Simpson fix in a while? Thinking back, I believe the last photos I posted were of her on roller skates in her latest video. Honestly, I do not recall if that was June or July. Here at the Eye, I like to explore the pivotal questions that plague mankind in the hopes of shining at least one little light in this dark world of ignorance and superstition. in that tradition, I present two questions and there answers, to the best of my ability.

First, can Jessica Simpson squeeze her behind into a pair of jeans tight enough to make her a paraplegic if she wore them more than four hours at a stretch? The answer is yes. In fact, you can probably here the giant sucking sound from wherever you are when she takes them off. It is like removing the flavor seal from a can of Pringles.

Second, can jessica Simpson choose decent looking hair extensions to match her bad dye job for wearing in public? the answer is sadly, no. For visual proof of both these revelations, look below at the photos I have provided: You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are tons more photos linked on the sidebar.
Karr Crash

There was no DNA match in the John Mark Karr case and charges he killed JonBenet Ramsey have been dropped. It looks like he was another of those strange souls who do not know the difference between fame and notoriety and confess to high profile crimes just to "be somenody." A most peculiar affair indeed.

Karr is still up for probation violations and child por charges and he might even face some obstruction of justice charges or the like for this "confession" stunt. Not that it really matters. Nancy Grace, Greta Van Susteran, and Geraldo will be falling all over themselves to land an interview. How far behind can a book deal be after that?

In other words, the guy is going to get exactly what he wants--the whole country to know his name. He wanted Johnny Depp to play him in the movie. Come on, Karr is Andy Dick all the way.
I'll Buy That

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.
Torchwood Photos

There is nothing too thrilling here, but two photos of John Barrowman filming the Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood, have surfaced. The actors are pretty much just standing around here. Nothing much to see, but you would think as stylish as the character of Jack Harkness is supposed to be, he would know you never wear suspenders with a belt. Is that supposed to be some sign of him being out of place and time or does the UK have a different sense of style than us barbaric americans?You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary.
Momento Mori

One of the most interesting parts of the Emmy and Oscar telecast is the In Memoriam Section. I have gotten into the habit of writing obituaries at the eye for favored celebrities, politicians, and other such famous personalities, but I am usually caught off guard by at least one or two inclusions in the montages of those who left us in the past year. I often miss that someone I really liked died. Bruno Kirby is an example. He died last week of leukemia. He played a sidekick in most every movie he had been in, which made him one of those actors you could recognize if you saw him, but never knew his name. By the time I discovered he was gone, it was too late to reasonably write something up about him.

As for the Emmy montage, I was surprised at a few omissions. It was a bad year for television deaths. They included 29 people as it was: Dennis Weaver, Barnard Hughes, Mrs. Philo T. Farnsworth, Don Adams, Dan Curtis, Lew Anderson, Ralph Edwards, Curt Gowdy, Robert Sterling, Michael Piller, Red Buttons, Mike Douglas, Scott Brazil, Tony Franciosa, Phyllis Huffman, Darren McGavin, Gloria Monty, Jan Murray, Pat Morita, Al Lewis, Maureen Stapleton, Buck Owens, Jack Warden, Don Knotts, Robert Wise, John Spencer, Louis Nye, Shelley Winters Aaron Spelling, and Richard Pryor.

I am surprised they ended with Richard Pryor and not Don Knotts. Outside of his famous word association skit with Chevy Chase from Saturday Night Live, his television experience was sparse. He once played a villain on The Wild Wild West and made an appearance on The Partridge Family. That is about it. Miniscule compared to Don knotts’ starring in two hit shows and winning five Emmys as Barney Fife.

As I said, I am puzzled by some omissions: Nipsey Russell, Franklin Cover (Tom Willis from The Jeffersons, Charles Rocket (In fairness, it was a suicide), Lou Rawls, and Harold J. Stone You know it has been a tough year when there are too many names to reasonably mention.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Speaking of the Emmy Awards

How did 24 win Outstanding Drama Series? It is an entertaining show and all but i can think of a half dozen more quality shows that were not even nominated. No, I am not thinking of Lost as one of them, either. Although I am curiouswhy it won last year and was not even nominated this time around. I am thinking more about House, The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Rescue Me. The politics of the whole nominating and winning process is a mystery to me.

I suppose 24 is no fluke--Keifer Sutherland won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, too.
Alan Alda at the Emmys

Last year, Alan Alda was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role as Sen. Arnold Vinick on The West Wing. He lost and the camera unfortunately panned on him as he torn his acceptance speech in two. It was a funny and kind of sad moment at the same time. The Powers That Be must have taken notice--he just won the Emmy for playing the same role this season.
Dancing with the "Stars"

My lone peeper is not all that reliable. Occasionally, I have to stop, squint, and do a double or triple take on a few of the more peculiar things I run across. As a for instance, take this picture I have displayed below. Believe it or not, that is conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, sans the prerequisite bowtie (A publig first?) who will be a contestant on the new season of Dancing with the Stars. I have never watched the show, but I do grasp the concept of veiwers voting off dancers until a winner is chosen in the season finale. With that in mind, you have to wonder why they picked someone as notoriously annoying and unlikeable as Carlson to compete. i mean, I like Tucker in the same way I like Christopher Hitchens--he is a professional pain in the butt. but that does not a dancing machine make. Still, the idea does amuse me.I do not know who the girl is, but she is hot. you may click to enlarge the photo should you desire a better look. Why you might want a better look at carlson is your own business.
Career Paths

Brad Meltzer, a Yale Law graduate, took over the writing chores of DC Comics' Green Arrow in 2001 after filmaker Kevin Smith departed the series after 12 issues. Smith supposedly moved on to bigger and better things--assuming you want to call Jersey Girl bigger and better. Considering his nasty fued with my baby, Reese Witherspoon, he could film the next Citizen Kane and I would still pan it. Always take my animus in consideration whenever Kevin smith is mentioned.

Meltzer's star rose quickly at DC. He was given the reins of the 2004 summer crossover, Identity Crisis and has been assigned a relaunch of Justice League of America, whih hit the stands last week. The new JLA builds the team around the trio of Superman, Batman, and wonder Woman. While that sounds like a no brainer, the JLA writers have meandered all over the place with the team's roster, most often dumping the three for pet characters in order to avoid entanglements with thecharacters' regular writers. the move designates that Meltzer has considerable clout at DC.

Meltzer has written several forgettable legal thrillers, but he is most remembered in high circles for is best and most high profil job ever--sppechwriter for Prsident Bill Clinton. That's right. he went from Bill Clinton to Green Arrow. there is a joke there somewhere, but I am adverse to digging for it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stargate: Atlantis--"Common Ground"

For a time there, Atlantis was surpassing its parent show in quality and entertainment. Then it hit a snag in pacing, threw in too much techno babble, and finally started recycling Star Trek scripts. It was a case of having seen that seven years ago, which is when this story felt like it began. At;antis still has these flaws. The overall story arc with the Wraith gets sparse airtime in between filler episodes. To me, the filler is generally unmatchable. Last night’s episode was something of an exception. The arc was not particularly advanced, but neither was it completely ignored in what was essentially a one shot episode.

Col. Sheppard is duped into a off world mission in which he is captured by Kolya and the Genii. Sheppard is held captive on some planet along with a Wraith. The Genii are demanding the whereabouts of a traitor and are allowing the Wraith to periodically suck the life out of Sheppard as a bargaining chip to get him back. Instead, Sheppard forms an uneasy alliance with the Wraith and the two escape. The traitor reveals the location of the Stargate to the two of them, but they cannot make it. Sheppard is rapidly aging by the time the Atlantis rescue team gets there, but the Wraith saves him out of some sense of debt. Sheppard is good on his end of the bargain as well. He sends the wraith home scott free with the realization that when they next meet, it will be as enemies.

It was a pretty neat episode, all things considered. I assume the ending was a foreshadowing that the two will meet again and the dynamics of their relationship will come into play. Perhaps they will not be quite the enemies they believe they will be. Speaking of enemies, Robert davi returns as Kolya. He, like Andreas Katsulas (RIP), always plays a fantasticly ambiguous foreign or alien bad guy. His under rated turn as Franz Sanchez in License to Kill is still one of my favorite Bond villains, even if no one else liked him in it. When last we saw the Genii, they were invading Atlantis and promised to be major villains. I think they have been sadly underutilized.

There was, of course, a cutesy moment with McKay. He joined an unsuccessful rescue mission earlier in the episode and shot a mouse that spooked him. I realize he is the loveable jackass character, but some of these moments are incredibly forced. This was no eception. It was funny, no doubt, but do we have to throw in something like that every single episode? Even the Fonz did not toss a catch phrase in every episode of Happy Days.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Feline Forebearance II

Boo has finally warmed up to me. We had been strangers for eight days up until early this morning. I was up before anyone else--as I am apt to be lately--and was having a bowl of cereal when Boo decided to finally greet me with something other than a cross look and a hind leg shake. I may be reading something into what is likely a sheer coensidence, but today was also the first day I did not suffer any dizzy spells. I have not been avidly monitoring my weight gain, but I have doubled up on ham, chicken, ice cream, cookies, and whatever else is put in front me for days now. It seems to have done the trick. Perhaps boo has sensed my equilibrium is back and is no longer disconcerted. Or maybe she just wanted some milk. Who knows. A cat’s loyalty can be bought for short periods of time, don’t you know.

I may be feeling better in that regard, but I am still scrawny. The number of times I have to shift during the night because of my hips is unreal. Sleeping on my back is incredibly unnatural for me--especially since I was stuck doing it in the hospital--but I have to resort to it eventually regardless. Sleeping on my stmach is still an eye crossing experience with this incision. It is healing up nicely, but I still cannot stand to put pressure on it.

I have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday. Just a routine deal, but I know the first thing he is going to do is press down as hard as he can on the incision and ask me if it hurts. For some reason, the act makes his job worthwhile to him. It is a surgeon thing, I believe. I have been trying to recall if there was any lawyer equivalent I picked up in law school, but do not recall any. Obviously surgeons have all the fun.
Lost: I Saved the World Today

Desmond asked, "What are you doing?"

"Just saving the world," answered a haggard, unshavened Kelvin.

The Lostaways first encounter the Swan Hatch, Desmond, and the infamous button in my new music video. It features scenes from "Adrift" and "Orientation" set to "I Saved the World Today" by the Eurythmics. Yes, I have used that song before in a Doctor Who video. I think it is appropriate enough to use here again for Lost.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stargate SG-1--"Counterstrike"

Oddly enough, now that SG-1 has been cancelled, its remaining episodes have piqued my curiosity. How long that will last is anyone’s guess, but tonight’s installment was a decent way to kill an hour even though there were some awfully convenient escapes to be had. The team is beamed out to safety not once, but twice. You would think the writers could come up with someone different for the second narrow escape, but they seem to be getting a little lazy in recent seasons. Probably why the show is being canceled, no?

The story begins with Adria addressing the Orii followers on some backwards world. The SG-1 team is in disguise among the crowd. Their ship in orbit detects an energy source emenating from the planet’s Stargate and beams the team out right before an energy weapon engulfs the planet, killing all 100,000 people. The weapon is an Ancient creation that is being used by the Jaffa to strike back at the Orii.

At Ba’Trac’s request, Gen. Landry heads to Dakara to conront the Jaffa leadership. The use of such weapons violates their agreements with Eath, but the Jaffa leadership takes an ends justifies the means attitude in defeating the Orii. The Sg-1 tam meanwhile invades what appears to be an empty Orii ship but are soon captured by Jaffa. Adria appears in another section of the ship, kills several Jaffa and takes Daniel and her mother, Vala, prisoner. Adria believes SG-1 is responsible for the 100,000 deaths. Daniel assures her that is not so. In response, Adria revives a jaffa solier and takes the truth from his mind.

She learns of the Ancient weapon and sets the ship on a course for Dakara. Col. Mitchell attempts an alliance with the Jffa onboard the ship, but they refuse, saying they will never be dependent on another race again. Mitchell decides he has no choice but to use explosive charges to destroy the ship before it reaches Dakara, even though he will kill everyone onboard. His explosive charges do not work thanks to Adria and neither does the Jaffa’s attempt to use their genocidal weapon on the ship. The SG-1 team is being out before we see anything else occur. Sometime later back at Stargate Command, we learn the Orii have destroyed Dakara in retribution.

In my relatively limited experience with SG-1, I have discovered the show hits some very high points, but can rarely string together more than one or two good episodes that do not feel like filler. The problem has been more pronounced in recent seasons to the point that if I like one episode, I am almost certain to not waste my time with the next two. Funny, but true. I liked this installment. It screams fo a follow up episode, but next week’s centers on Vala in a seemingly unrelated story. I think this show needed to keep more momentum going in order to last. They film ten episodes in a block. You would think it would be easier to maintain a more rigid story arc to keep viewers coming back. I suspect it is way to late to fix that problem.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
S. S. Minnow For Sale

A boat allegedly used as the S. S. Minnow on Gilligan's Island is up for sale. for $ 90,000.

Folks are skeptical of the authenticity, but the Gilligan's Island Fan Club (Sadly enough, there is one.) state that four different ships were used during the show's early filming and this could very well be one of the four. If so, it is a nifty piece of television history.

I suppose.
The Name Game

I am a fan of comic books. Unabashedly, even. They do not translate well to other media. I and numerous other fans have grown to accept this fact. save for a few bright spots, comic characters in movies and on television have been embarrassingly awful and have attached a stigma to comics and comic book fans. We live with such things because of the realization that not everything on the page translates to the stage.

Since Batman became a hit in 1989, the tide has turned somewhat. There are still some duds here and there, but nowadays a lot of filmakers grew up reading comics. They respect the characters and concepts. From time to time, things still have to be changed to suit the in and outs of movies. From time to time, this means title oddities.

All that said, when I hear the Fantastic Four sequel is subtitled Rise of the Silver Surfer, I just want to commit hari kari. I do not care if it is based on the magnum opus of FF stories (Issues # 48-50, "The Coming of Galactus") I get the same shudder I did upon hearing Attack of the Clones for the first time.

A Puerto Rican Invisible Girl? Okay. Julian McMahon as Doctor Doom? All right. his father was Prime Minister of Australia. He can play at being megalomaniacal and regal. But Rise of the Silver Surfer? It sounds too Frankie and Annette.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Reese Witherspoon X

It has been a month since I have posted any Hollywood starlet photos. That is the longest stretch I have gone through since I tarted the theme in earnest last spring. time flies when you are having surgery and cannot really do anything else but grut and groan, no? In my humblest opinion, there is no better way to start back than with my favorite, the lovely Reese Witherspoon. There are no naked, nude, or bikini photos here. Just some classy shots of a beautiful girl.You may click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary.
The WGA Contract

The Writers Guild of America, the union for screenwriters, is set to renegotiate its contract next year in what is expected to be bloody give and take. Three issues are at stake. First, the inclusion of animation writers. Animation is still, by and large, a work for hire job. A writer gets paid a flat fee and unless he has some clout in the industry, is not going to receive a royalties deal. Second, a bigger chunk of DVD sales. DVDs have produced money hand over fist for studios and production houses. Finally, a bigger chunk of product placement revenue in the finished productions. Writers feel if they have to compromise their work by including Pepsi or Taco Bell in their scripts, they ought to be compensated for it.

I can get behind the first two. The third seems a little petty, but we are talking about a large sum of money and big piles of cash do strange things to people. To show they mean business on all three, the WGA has elected Patric Verone as its president. Verone is a veteran writer from The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Critic. He has been nominated for eight Emmys and won two. But more importantly, Verone is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard who also graduated near the top from the Boston College School of Law. On top of his writing credentials, Verone has served as a professor and law at UCLA’s School of Law and is licensed to practice in California and Florida.

His election indicates a certain hunkering down in contract negotiations. I do not think anyone is anticipating another work stoppage like in 1981 or the long strike of 1988, but I believe things will get mighty strained at the beginning of next year between management and labor in the film and television industry. It should be interesting to watch.
Pluto Downgraded to Dwarf Planet

They prefer to be called mass challenged, thank you very much.
The Weight of the World

I have been awake for a while tonight. My sleep pattern has been skewed since my hospital stay. I still sleep up to ten hours, but Lord only knows when that actually happens. It is somewhat disorienting, but so are a lot of things these days. In a few hours, it will be exactly one week since I was discharged from Carolina Pines. It took about two days to get all the IV fluid out of my system back to where my stability relies on my own nutrient consumption. If you have never had the pleasure--and I am not being snaky here--a nutrient IV drip makes you feel like a million bucks when it is being complemented by normal (or at least semi-normal) eating habits. Even in the waning days of my stay when I was on a clear liquid diet, I felt perky.

You only have to make the trip from hospital to home to realize what an illusion that is. I already stated I had to stop in the kitchen from a dink and saltines in order to make it to my room. By Friday morning, I was feeling the loss of 14 pounds. I still am. Anyone familiar with me knows I am not a finicky eater. I will eat anything that does not eat me first and often go back for seconds. Heck, it is probably a big reason why I have diverticulitis at such a young age, though not the biggest. But no matter what my eating habits have ever been like, I have hit the wall with my weight. I have never in my life weighed more than 95 pounds. I probably never will. Truth be told, keeping my weight at 95 has been hard. Gaining back 14 pounds has been nigh impossible.

I lost more weight than this during the early days after my vivisection. It was difficult for about two months to find things to eat that did not upset my digestive system while it adjusted. The problem was made doubly uncomfortable by the fact that you do not get hungry during that adjustment period. You get this painful, empty feeling tht has to be filled as quickly as possible by something soft and bland. From May through June 2004, I would literally beat a box of saltines, Nilla wafers, and Ritz crackrs a day on top of three squares just to not feel the emptiness. My sister joked often it must be like the munchies from smoking pot. Heh. Either way, putting weight back on was much easier then than now. The thought of eating three boxes of crackers a day on top of everything else is an impossible task stepping well over the gluttony line.

All that to say I am really uncomfortable these days. My hip bones (and by extension, the artificial plates attached) are protruding enough to make them ache if I sleep on my sides too much. Too much being the ten hours a day/night I have been sleeping for the entire month of August. I have this constant sense of vertigo. Not enough to cause me to fall, but enough to make concentration hard. I have had to just stop several times over the last few days and lea up against the nearest wall for a few minutes. I literally fell asleep in the bathtub on Saturday. Well, that one was not so bad. It was the first non hospital/non quickie showr I had since July and warm water tends to do that to a deprived soul. But my status still remains and it is noticeable.

My family is being great about the whole thing. Even Lexi, who normally tries to jump on my legs and climb me as a greeting, now stands at my feet wagging her tail instead waiting for me to pet her. Boo has been the litmus test for reality. Cats are honest creatures, you know. She has very little to do with me, keeps her distance, and seems uncomfortable when I pet her. It is like there is something about me that bugs her now. It is not a matter of not liking me anymore. Boo is incredibly rude towards anyone she does not like, but I can still pet her. It is a more of a sense of disturbance. Maybe cats are in tune that something is amiss. I do not know. Today was the first day in a long while that everyone was gone all morning and afternoon except Boo and me. On these days, Boo tends to lounge in the living room wherever she sees fit. She still did so, but eyed me warily the entire time. Out of everything, that cat’s behavior is freaking me out most of all.

Bah. I do not really have anything important to say here. I just wanted to kvetch about things. If you cannot be self-indulgent on your blog, where can you? I am getting twinges of hunger pangs here and am about to head for the kitchen once daylight shines through a little more for my usual cereal, toast, and bananna about an hour or so early this morning. Toodles.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Urban Renewal

The New Orleans City Council has issued an ordinance setting an August 29th deadline for residents to reclaim their homes or face bulldozing. At first, I had uncomfortable twinges of Kelo upon reading that (Okay, second though, actually. My first was Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I am nerdy that way.) but upon further relection, it is a healthy sign of progress.

Yes, I know former residents ae scattered to the four corners and quite a few do not even know about the ordinance, much less can respond, but after a reasonable effort to broadcast the new rule, what else can the city council do? A lot of those homes have been clearly abandoned. Now that vegetation has returned, the smell of mold has got to be awful. I am sure the cost of rebuilding anything a resident might wish to would be cost prohibitive. In this regard, the rule seems like a necessary evil.

If the city council hands the land over to casino developers, I may change my mind. Stay tuned for that one.
Cleaning House at Saturday Night Live

I think I watched about a dozen installments of the 2005-06 season, depending largely on who was hosting. Out of those, I thought only the Jack Black, Alac Baldwin, and Steve martin hosted shows had any shining moments at all. Even watching, I generally turned it off after the Weekend Update segment. SNL is like a bonsai tree--it has to be pruned every now and then to keep it growing healthy. Thanks to budget cuts, Lorne Michaels has been forced to make some changes. In anticipation of budget cuts for this season, Michaels hired a larger than usual cast of 16 last year (glut may have lead to the show being unfunny, FWIW) in order to trim it down to 10 for this season (an air of fatalism about job security did not help, FWIW). So who got the ax?

Chris Parnell: No surprise. His only recurring character has been a subtle pedophile which has always been more creepy than funny. I have a hard time separating him from the character, so there is not a heck of a lot of appeal there.

Horatio Sanz: He used to play really well off Jimm Fallon. They were almost a David Spade/Chris Farley combo. The two probably could have made a decent movie together if they were so inclined. On his own, Sanz has floundered. He cracks up in virtually every sketch he is in. very unprofessional.

Keenan Thompson: I have to admit, this one puzzles me. Thompson was pretty funny even if he was underused. I think he could have shined with more time. His Bill Cosby impression was dead on.

Finesse Mitchell: He was the weakest link and that was often a joke on the show. I recall (ironically) on a parody of The Apprentice he said he knew he was awful, but he could not be fired since he and Al Roker were the only black guys on NBC. So much for that, huh?

In addition, Andy Seakis will be the lone anchor for Weekend Update. He was part of the Lonely Island troupe that was added last year and they wound up being about the only bright spot. I have no idea whether he will be Brad Hall or Dennis Miller in the role, but I will miss the coanchor status the show has had for the last few years. Tina Fey and amy Poehler were a bit smug about the whole thing, but Fey/Fallon was gold back in the day.

Speaking of Tina Fey, she has left the show to focus on her new sitcom which I expect to be cancelled by Christmas. I guess she will have to go back to tending to Lindsay Lohan’s business after that.
The "Bear" Necessities

Troy Lee Gentry, one half of the country duo Montgomery Gentry, paid for a tame bear, then video taped shooting it as though he had done so in the wild. This is doubly bad because Gentry sings about what a rugged outdoorsman he is. Ted Nugent this guy ain’t.

For me, this incident reinforces the fakeness of today’s country music. There was a time when folk sang about drinking, fighting, and going to prison because those are exactly the things they had done. I am not saying those are admirable things to be doing, but they made for a raw realism when it came to songwriting and performing.

You know Merle Haggard meant it when he sang that his momma tried to set him straight but he wound up in prison anyway because he spent time in San Quentin. George Jones was such an alcoholic he earned the nickname “No Show” Jones because he could rarely perform. When he siang about years of life lost, he meant it from experience. Johnny Cash sang “I Got Stripes” because he did--drugs and alcohol all barely beaten down by a religious faith.

That sort of thing is not around anymore with the current crop of pimple cream and rock and roll guitars infesting country. What a shame, too. The genre used to be a Southern secret. It was a cottage industry in which we all talked about the kind of problems we faced that maybe other parts of the country either did not or wanted to pretend they did not. Too much of that has been replaced by fakers like Troy Gentry who are just play acting for the crowd.
Lech Walesa Quits Solidarity Union

The end of an era for the old Cold Warrior.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Stargate SG-1--Act Naturally

Stargate SG-1 has gotten the ax shortly after airing its milestone 200th episode. Hitting a milestone like that is dangerous in television. Network executives see a nice, round number of episodes and think what a great rerun cycle it will produce without having to fund production for new episodes. That is not necessarily what happened here--ratings have slipped considerably in recent seasons--but it happens.

Regardless, the 200th episode featured a movie producer picking the brains of SG-1 for suggestions on making a movie loosely based on their own adventures. The team offers up suggestions, helpful and otherwise, which turn out something like this music video.
We Named the Dog Indiana Jones IV

So how does George Lucas describe the planned Indiana Jones sequel?
"We're basically going to do The Phantom Menace. People's expectations are way higher than you can deliver. You could just get killed for the whole thing... We would do it for fun and just take the hit with the critics and the fans" says Lucas.
Well, that inspires confidence. The Phantom Menace was overblown and underwritten--the perfect model to make another film by. According to the article, the hold up has been some sort of religious mythos Lucas wants to use but Speilberg has balked on. Evidently it has finally dawned on all parties that Harrison Ford is now 64. the now or never aspect has prompted some sort of compromise.

The article still implies the sequel is not a certain deal. I am assuming that is true because salaries of $ 60 million for the big three on top of a $ 200 million will probably price this thing right out of production. Still, filming could begin in mid-2007 for a summer 2008 release--19 years after the last movie hit the silver screen.
Reality Check

If anyone honestly believes John Mark Karr is going to be stuck with a public defender during his trial, you are not cynical enough about lawyers. There are criminal defense attornies colliding with themselves all over Colorado trying to get to wherever Karr will arrive to offer their services for free. The notoriety of being part of this trial will more than make up for it later, win or lose.
Houston, We Have a Problem

According to a Sudanese fruitcake who claims to be his former sex slave, Osama bin laden is obsessed with Whitney Houston and even plotted to kill her husband, Bobby Brown. Funny, I always had bin Laden out to be a Britney Spears man--probably with a penchant for the Dixie Chicks these days.
Up in Smoke

When Tom & Jerry was at its peak in the 1940’s-’50’s, everyone smoked. It was the cool thing to do when relaxing or socializing. Celebrities made it the popular thing to do. It is only natural for Tom to light one up every now and then, right? I remember it happening as a tyke but do not recall it bothering me a whole heck of a lot. I am not, however, the British mother of a preteen who promptly complained to Ofcom, the UK equivalent of the FCC. In response to this solitary complaint, Ofcom has forced Boomerang (Time-Warner) to edit out any and all instances of smoking from its animation library.

Let me repeat that…because it bears repeating.

Based on one complaint, Boomerang is going through its entire animation library and chopping out the objectionable material of cartoon characters smoking--and it is doing so willingly. The cartoons that started the bruhaha are "Texas Tom," where Tom rolls a cig to impress a girl, and "Tennis Chumps," where Tom's tennis opponent smokes a cigar.

There is one poorly kept secret about such things. While creators complain constantly about networks and other censors constantly putting pressure on them to sterilize their material, the truth is they are more than happy to keep anything even remotely controversial out of the product to help market it to the widest audience possible. The blandness of this practice might go a long way towards explaining why Saturday morning is no longer filled from dawn until noon with cartoons like it used to be.

On a more personal observation, if you thought the uproar over Janey Jackson’s stunt at the Super Bowl was stupid and overblown (as I did) then you can breathe a sigh of relief. The FCC ain’t got nothing’ on Ofcom. I understand Ireland has banned smoking everywhere (more time to drink, I suppose) but I was not aware it was becoming a holy crusade in Merry old England as well. Maybe the Brits are just prudes. Who knows?

Read the article.

Monday, August 21, 2006

McCain on the March

While the insider’s GOP favorite for 2008, Sen. George Allen, is preoccupied keeping his foot out of his mouth, popularly assumed frontrunner Sen. John McCain has been assembling one of the best all star teams of consultants, pollsters, fund raisers, and other assorted gurus ever in presidential politics. McCain has been reaching out not only to the GOP establishment he pretty much ran against in 200, but is mending fences with the Christian Right. There is a perception--right or wrong--that evangelicals torpedoed his presidential bid in 2000. I am only familiar with his primary run in South Carolina, a loss which I would chalk up to former Gov. Carroll Campbell’s political machine backing Bush rather than God’s voters, but I do imagine critiquing Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in Virginia lead to his poor showing in the Dominion State.

(As a side not and a full disclosure--Campbell’s son, Mike, attempted a run for Lt. Governor this year and failed despite his late father’s good name. However, Gov. Mark Sanford is still riding high off the Campbell machine, so who knows exactly whether it spelled McCain’s doom in 2000 or not.)

The GOP has a history of handing the nomination over to someone simply because it is his turn.They may combine that habit in 2008 with a cockiness about the vulnerability of Hillary Clinton, the presumed Democratic nominee. She is already starting with a 45% negative rating in polls. We might have a repeat of 1996 where we had a old guard senator on his last chance for the presidency and an overconfident GOP believing no one in a gillion years would vote for an unpopular Clinton. You will note how well that turned out for the country and the the Office of the President in general during Clinton’s second term.
The Gate is Closed

After two years of standing over the coffin with a hammer and handful of nails, Stargate SG-1 has been cancelled. Drive a stake through its heart just to be sure. Fans shhould not fret. There are some rumblings at a return to the movie franchise featuring James Spader and Kurt Russell, although the rumored sequels completing the trilogy will not follow the show's continuity.

The sister show, Stargate: Atlantis, has been renewed for a third season. So there is your fix for at least another year. My question is where are all the unemployed former Star Trek actors going to go now that the Gate is closed? They will be in almost as much dire straits as Ben Browder and Claudia Black who will face years of hounding now to revive Farscape.
A House is a Holmes

Is uberdiagnostitian Dr. Gregory House the modern day Sherlock Holmes? There are definite connections.
Lost: Save Me

Getting back to our Lost music videos, here is the first one that does not focus on a single character. Instead this video features some of the more intense scenes from the 2004 Pilot set to "Save Me"" by Remy Zero. I envisioned the music and lyrics to match up better in spots, but overall I am satisfied. You are, of course, the final judge on such matters. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

All Hiss, No Bite

After all the hype and awful jokes we have had to endure over the months, Snakes on a Plane is anemic at the box office. Maybe it was not such a cool idea after all.
Feline Forebearance

For anyone following the minirama here of Boo and me, she still has not warmed up to me since I returned from the hospital. She did not act the slightest bit different after i returned from surgery earlier this month, but after my second stint at Carolina Pines, it has been a different story. I only write about it because it is peculiar. My eldest neice and i are the only cat people in the house and Boo knows it. Feline's are astute about which side of the bread their butter is on.

Boo's current behavior reminds me of the episode of Family Guy in which Stewie meets his grandmother for the first time. He takes one look at her, turns his nose up, and remarks with contempt, "I smell death on you." Not that I am about to croak, mind you, but Boo does not seem to enjoy being around the convalescing. I suspect she is secretly a germ freak.
John Mark Karr

I have no idea if John Mark Karr killed JonBenet Ramsey or if he is just one of those pathetic nobodies seeking notoriety. Considering the good time he seems to be having since his arrest, the latter is a strong possibility. It is not unusual for people to randomly confess to high profile crimes for whatever reason. Dozens “confessed” to killing Laci Peterson back in the day. One thing is sure--unless Karr is exposed as a hoax, he is eventually going to be convicted. Just like Scott Peterson, the guy is absolutely creepy. The press is making an effort to pile it on with hints of desired sex change operations, inability to hold teaching jobs around small children, and going so far as to traveling to exotic locales to be around more schoolchildren. Weird sexual behavior sells newspapers and advertisement space whether it is worth reading about or not.

The worst part? In prison, he will get just as many love letters and marriage proposals as Peterson has. Sometimes it is hard to discern what is the sickest aspect of these things. I am still bothered by painting up a 6 year old girl into a Liza Minelli clone and parading her around beauty pageants, so I guess I am way behind the times.
Sen. Lieberman and Democrat Defeatism

Even after mentioning my current ambivalence towards politics in the last post, I think it would be way too awkward for me not to mention the current wackiness surrounding Sen. Joe Lieberman’s reelection bid. The whole drama is the strangest thing I have ever seen outside of South Carolina politics. I have to make that distinction. As a near life long observer of Palmetto State politics, I can assure you virtually everyday sounds like a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta emanating from Columbia. Google “Andre Bauer,” “Arthur Ravenel,” “Inez Tennenbaum,” or “Operation: Lost Trust” sometime and click on any link. Thank me for the entertainment value later.

The Democratic primary last week was a clear example of the self-defeatism plaguing the Democratic Party that has me scratching my head to no end. It’s great the party wants to have its principles. I am all for that. But the realities of electoral politics necessitate some give and take. The antiwar crowd has essentially thrown the seat away for no good reason. Now, I fully expect Lieverman to win in November as an independent--probably by a double digit margin. I mean really--does the Connecticut GOP even know the name of their candidate? He is the first party nominee to not be endorsed by a sitting president in 36 years. While I imagine things will be awkward for Lieverman being outside the party structure, I do not expect him to mend fences all that much when he wins.

Sure, he is a liberal on most issues and will side with the Democrats anyway. The only reason the Bush Administration has supported him is because of his backing of the unpopular war in Iraq. Even his support for the war has eroded in recent months. So with all this said, what was the point of alienating lieverman? Surely no one was enough of a dreamer to thik his empty suited primary oponent would be enough to win a general election? The people of Connecticut know Lieberman brought home the bacon. They are not going to forget that when they step in the voting booth. Heck, the state GOP knows it, too. They would have found someone much more formidable if they had any inkling at all lieberman was weak. He is not, and they nominated the first guy willing to put his neck in the noose.

So what is going to happen in November? Lieberman will still be a senator. The Democrats will have lost a seat in the senate--painful considering they need a net of five or six to regain control. Lieberman will likely adopt more of his former moderate positions like he held before becoming Al Gore’s running mate in 2000. That will knock out some influence party activists have held over him in recent years. Frankly, I do not see any value in what the Democrats have done other than some smug satisfaction they did not throw their support behind someone Bush wanted. If that is the guiding principle of the Democratic Party, then I cannot imagine them winning anything significant in November or knowing what to do with it even if they do.

I will give it to the GOP--despite a public notion the party is full of bigots, it has a wider umbrella than the Democrats. The party fully understands it has to give constituents what it wants and that means pro choice candidates in California and gay civil union supporters in New York. Unless the Democrats can get rid of their elitist notion that everyone has to adopt a universal principle or else, they are going to continue loing ground. At least they are marching happily towards destruction.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

An Eye on the Eye

For the first time in quite a while I have been able to play with my Sitemeter stats and check link count at various sources. I am a statistics junkie. It is probably the biggest reason I enjoy falling the demographics aspects of election politics and am such a baseball fan. You can find data to tell you anything about either one. With that in mind, you can imagine how much being incapacitated in recent days has been for me. What is more distressing is how far the Eye has fallen in recent weeks.

It is not a surprise, mind you. I have not been feeling well since early July when the hernia emerged.Speaking of, now that it is gone and only an incision remains, it is remarkable to note just how big that thing was. Seven inches on my belly is considerable. On a somewhat related note, my poor outie belly button is surrounded by fresh and faded scar tissue all around now. It looks quite pitiful just sitting there. A couple more surgeries and I will not even have one anymore. I say all that to point out July was about as much a blogging waste as August has been even if I was not laid out as flat then. August 2006, May 2004, and October 1987 are going to go down as the three worst months of my life whenever my memoirs are written. If it is any comfort, August 2006 trails the other two considerably. I guess that is something.

I am starting to formulate some ideas for content. I am still really bored with day to day politics. We are not talking bout bird flu and gas prices anymore, but there still is not a whole lot of interesting stuff out there. Even the election has not piqued my interest. Blasphemous as this sounds, I have no enthusiasm for the GOP to hold on to Congress--at least not enough to sharpen my blade and go after key Democrats. The good news is I have had lots of time to think during the more lucid, waning days of my hospital stay in which I thought of a number of things I would like to talk about and regretted not having my computer handy. You get your best ideas when there is no pencil handy. Look for some out of the ordinary things to pop up in the next few days--energy permitting, of course. I still find myself winded at times. I have quite a few more pounds to add back before I can get my head back on straight.

I am also…acquiring…new material for music. I have been hving a good time with that and had a few flashes of inspiration in between munching down on phantom cheesecakes and counting IV droplets. If you want to call it drug induced creativity, go right ahead. Some of the coolest stuff has been formulated that way.
Mad Mel Gets Love Tap

Mel Gibson will not go to jail for DUI. Instead he got three years probation, his license revoked for a short time, and a $ 1200 fine. For those scoring at home, that means three years of nothing, being chaffuered for a time, and losing five minutes salary. Good thing Mel did not kill anyone or the judge might have had to shake his head and click his tongue in Braveheart's general direction. I would hate to see something that harsh happen.
Animal Magnetism

I have been home a smidgeon over 36 hours now and have noticed an odd change in the zoo. When I walked through the door yesterday, I stopped off into the kitchen for a ginger ale and saltines. Call it symbolic--it was the first thing I chose to eat myself after all this time of either taking what I was given or watching a glucose drip. We have a big kitchen with a central counter. If you are going to have a quick bite, that’s the place to do rather than set up at the dining room table. I parked it on a stoll but still had one foot on the floor. (I’m wobbly. I want to be grounded.) Lexi proceeded to barrel in the kitchen upon realizing I am home and practically climbed up my leg to get to me. I have not been able to stray too far from her since, even though I am clearly not a dog person.

Boo, on the other hand, has acted very strangely. She stood across the room, looked me up and down as if to say, "Where have you been? Lord, you’re skinny. Why do you smell like Lysol? Stay away.”

It hasn’t changed since. I woke up at 6:30 AM Friday morning when no one else was up and had a bowl of cereal. That usually gets Boo’s attention. She always holds out hope you’ll share the milk. Maybe she knew I was foregoing the milk and eating it dry (Milk still doesn’t sit well for me, but fudge is fine. Go figure.) but she strolled around the corner while I was sitting at the table.

“Oh, it’s you,” she seemed to say.

Boo strolled off shaking a hind leg at me. Good grief. I’m in the…uh…doghouse, apparently.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Television Eases Pain

I always have said television is the new opiate of the masses who have grown too dull to even embrace a religion. A study finds that children react more calmly to having blood drawn while watching cartoons as opposed to being soothed by their mothers. I am inclined to agree with the bit that notes the study may be skewed because kids will grow apprehensive if their parents begin to be comforting. It signals something bad is about to happen. I recall even at young ages hating it because I thought it was patronizing. I remember once at Duke University Medical center when I could not have been more than five. I was going to have sugery the next day and the hospital had a policy that allowed parents to put on surgical scrubs to carry their small children into the operating room and then slip out unbeknownst to the child before any work was done. I refused. I thought it was silly, even then. Even at a young age, I have hated the crap people do to snow me over.

That said, I do think there is something to the distraction of television--especially silly television--during illness or pain. I have always had an inclination to seek out the Three Stooges whenever I am not feeling well. As of late I have been on a Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy kick. I am inclined to watch vaudeville humor any day off the week, but it is telling that I mostly find the time when I am under the weather.

Of couse, there is always time for Looney Tunes.
Stargate SG-1--"200"

Last year I stopped watching SG-1 after the midseason finale. I meant to come back when the second half of the season cranked up again, but never did. At that point, I was focused on Battlestar Galactica and not the rest of the Sci Fi Friday line up. Tonight SG-1 aired its 200th episode, so I decided to tune in to see what was happening. I had heard it would be a sequel of sorts to the jump the shark 100th episode in which a Hollywood producer created a thinly veiled version of the real SG-1 called Wormhole X-Treme. I do not have the emotional attachment to SG-1 to feel strongly about that episode one way or the other, but more dedicated fans either loved it or hated it. I assume tonight’s episode will have the same hot or cold reaction.

Gen. O’Neill has requested SG-1 cooperate with the same producer who is now turning Wormhole Xtreme into a feature film. The team isn’t all that enthused, especially Cam and Vala who are not featured in the movie at all. They all argue back and forth pitching ideas as the producer keeps getting cell phone calls about necessary budget and casting changes. What follows is a typical parody of various science fiction films and television shows, some of which I found much funnier than others. I think Vala got the best bits here, like when she pitched The Wizard of oz as something that happened to her personally--complete with the rest of SG-1 dudded up as the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man. After she pitches a Gilligan’s Island idea, the producer tells her if she is going to rip something off, it needs to be more obscure. She then proceeds to pitch Farscape. In a tweak to Scapers still burnt by its cancellation, the producer admits he has never heard of it.

So what did I think of the episode? Well, it was a fun hour. Seeing Richard dean Anderson return for a while was good, too. Like I said, I am not a huge fan of the show, but the fist few seasons with RDA at the helm of SG-1 were the best. It reminded me of those special episodes of Hercules and Xena which took place in the “real world” with Bruce Campbell and some of the actors playing a stereotypical production crew. Those wound up being budget saving clip shows and the like and generally fit in with the campy tone of the two shows. Here it does not. That’s just my vibe. I am coming from a perspective of a comics fan. Whenever a comic is about to reach a issue number that is a multiple of 50, you can be sure some major storyline is about to be wrapped up in it. Something pivotal is going to happen--a death, a marriage, a birth a showdown with the arch villain--something to make it memorable. They are never a jokeI suppose the dynamics of television do not allow for such planning, but I think this would have been better served as a knockdown, drag out battles between the Orii and the Jaffa and less a celebration of the writers’ own cleverness. But if more dedicated fans are satisfied with that, so be it. I still had fun.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Universal Truth

This is not Chocopolis, but I have to mention a new universal rule I have discovered: it does not matter how droopy you felt before, two pieces of homemade fudge make the world infinitely brighter.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Doctor Who Tidbits

The Sci Fi Channel, as it has been rumored for a while now, will begin airing the 28th season of Doctor Who (or the second series of the revival, if you are a purist) in late September. This is interesting, considering there was a fair assumption for some time there the show would never air in the United states to begin with. Christopher Eccleston’s turn as the ninth doctor in 2005 earned Sci Fi rating similar to what its original Friday night programming was garnering, but nothing stellar. One wonders now since the channel is airing the second season now if they will air the third season concurrently with the BBC when it premieres in April 2007. If I recall correctly, Sci Fi originally tried to do that to begin with but ran into a snag in negotiations.

Speaking of the third season, it has begun filming in Cardiff, Wales. There is an official picture below of David Tennant as the doctor and Freema Agyeman as new companion, Marta Jones. I have to admit she has a certain similar vibe to her--a lot of the “bling bling” aspects of Billie Piper. I was hoping--and still am--that her character has a different dynamic than Rose Tyler. I am not eager for romantic sparks to fly between the two and I am currently getting the hopefully incorrect impression that Martha reminds the Doctor of Rose. Here’s hoping Martha is some tough as nails Lois lane type who is ready to duke it out with Ice Warriors and Daleks and not so big on coloring her roots and playing house.The third season will be Russell T. Davies' last as executive producer before making good on his promise to return to "more gay men" in his next Television assignment (Queerer as Folk?). I am still in the Stephen Moffat as Replacement Camp, but rumors are Matthew Gaham, creator of Life On Mars and the writer of "Fear Her" is favored. I though "Fear Her" was mediocre filler, but i am willing to give the guy another shot at a more substantial episode. i have never seen Life on Mars, but critics go fo the time travelling cop show, so i will take it on a wait and see basis.
After Nap

I have just had a six hour nap and some jellied toast with ginger ale, so I am feeling a bit more myself. The first couple of days back from the hospital are always awkward. I do not care what anyone says about those places, you cannot get one ounce of rest there. I did not sleep more than three hours at a stretch from the moment I was admitted. Last night was the first time in over a week I could sleep on my sides, but that was still awkward enough to make sleep restless. Anytime I hear someone famous has checked into the hospital from exhaustion, I automatically think that is a cover story for something. Nah, you will only make it worse, pal.

I am seriously behind on news. Most interesting things to write about seemed to center on the Israeli-Hezbollah War and I was at a loss to say much more about that than I already had. I was vaguely aware of the ceasefire agreement made a few days ago and remember snickering at the idea o a peacekeeping force lead by the French and Italians--the French whose major military operations in the last 20 years have been against Greenpeace and the Italian who have not taken a prisoner of war in two centuries. This should be a roaring success. I suspect this will wind up being like the more rugged parts of Afghanistan after the Taliban was ousted. The international peacekeeper could not (and still cannot) go much beyond Kabul while the Taliban regroups in places they cannot reach. Privately, the Israelis know another round is coming. I have no doubts.

I have an aversion to covering true crime at the Eye. I have written here and there about Michael Jackson, Scott Peterson, and JonBenet Ramsey at times, but I feel dirty about it and yesterday is a clear indication of why. For years, the public has viewed the Ramseyes with suspicion over their daughter’s death and have done so largely because legal pundits on the moe tabloidish news shows have essentially implied you are an idiot if you do not think they killed her. They have had to eat a decade’s worth of that yesterday after someone confessed. Or did not--heck, I cannot tell from looking at news sources. All I can do is tell you that after looking at the guy’s photo, I said, ‘Yep, he is guilty” just because his look gave me the creeps. Which, in turn, tells me I do not need to be commenting on these sorts of things. Besides, there is something about the legal ethics of all this that bugs me, whether it should or not.

I am going to make the usual rounds of my internet haunts now. I have a lot of catching up to do. I will probably run across some other interesting stuff to mention later on tonight after I do. Until then, cheers or good night and good luck, whichever seems more necessary.
Obstructed

As the most astute amongst you have already figured out, I did not have a general bug that has been going around. For those that are infinitely familiar with my general bad luck have probably also surmised, one medical procedure of mine tends to open the door to yet another mess. If you happen to be one of the extremely fortunate to put the two together and realize that I went through a hernia surgery in order to prevent a bowel obstruction and suffered one anyway, well, you just marh yourselves right on up to the head of the class.

I had been hospitalized for the better part of two weeks because my digestive system completely shut down. I had a CT scan the first few hours I was there whih showed three swellings in my small intestine which caused everything to stop--including the internal dye used in a CT scan. Like me, the dye just sat there for days in one place while everyone tried to figure out what to do. In the meantime, I was forced on an IV only diet for which I have lost a lovely 15 pounds.

What we wound up doing was going for an x-ray every morning to see if any dye had seeped through, then upon realizing it hadn’t, said, “Well, we’ll wait a few more days.” Everyone wanted to avoid surgery at all costs as it would have entailed taking down the hernia repair work (making all that crap moot) and even enlarging the incision to lay open my entire abdomen to explore for a problems. At best that could have meant untangled a bit that had been manipulated improperly the first time around or at worst--let’s not talk about that one, shall we?

We id try one rather nasty thing as a last resort. It is not a blogworthy discussion (read: you don’t’ want to know) that worked and I have managed to unclear three blockages without surgery. I am actually fine now, although there were a few miserable days there when I was dried out and famished. Friday I hallucinated so badly, I was sedated. Everyone who has snickered about how crazy I am take note. You should have been there to see my downfall. You would have loved it. Anyway, other than a ton of lost weight and some lactose intolerance, I am on the mend. The good part is that I avoided a second surgery which would have been incredibly nasty in my depleted condition no matter what.

Oh, and if anyone wants to bake me cookies or brownies, feel free. I could use the calories.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What the Dickens?

Doctor Who's "The Runaway Bride" will have A Christmas Carol theme featuring Sarah Jane and K9.
Is Garfield Dead?

I often find Garfield a banal, unfunny comic strip, especially since Jim Davis turned it over to a staff and does little more than cash royalty checks these days. Occasionally the strips were intentionally unfunny in the past, as with the ones I have linked below. These strips ran the week before Halloween in 1989 and are making the internet rounds because of their creepy theme.

Garfield awakens alone in an abandoned house. It is apparently in a future in which he does not exist. He is completely alone and seems tp be engaging in hallucinations in order to cope with the fact he is slowly starving to death. He awakens to discover it is all a dream, but the whole series of strips is a disturbing change of pace.

I do not recall ever reading hse strips before. Rumors are that Jim Davis was going through a bout of severe depression when he made them, hence the darker tone. I gather since they are now becoming part of internet lore, they will forever be infamous.You may click to enlarge the comics for a better look.