Saturday, May 31, 2008

Doctor Who--"Silence in the Library"

The big Whovian news this week has been the announcement Steven Moffat, the most popular Doctor Who writer outside of Russell T. Davies, will be taking over the series when it returns for a full season in 2010. This week and next, we get yet another preview of why fans are so excited at the prospect of Moffat as head writer. He has a fantastic way of scaring the bejbus out of you by making your nightmares real. “Silence in the Library” is no exception.

The Doctor and Donna land on a planet that is actually the largest library in the universe. Every book ever written is there. But the place has been abandoned for a century now. The only thing left are kiosks with faces of the patrons who were sealed in the library after whatever disaster occurred. The faces repeat cryptic messages about staying in the light and dire warnings to count the shadows. Somehow, the library is connected to a little girl on Earth who is under a psychiatrist’s care for her fantasies about travelling there.

Enter a team of archeologists lead by Dr. River Song, a woman who appears to have been very intimate with the Doctor at some point in the future even though from the Doctor’s perspective, he has not met her yet. Song is played by Alex Kingston, better know as Dr. Elizabeth Corday on ER. Song has a sonic screwdriver she claims the Doctor will give her at some future point. She is also very uncomfortable around Donna. There is an implication something tragic happens to her between now and when the Doctor and Song eventually meet.

The Doctor discovers creatures called Vashta Nerada are living in the shadows. There aare aswarm of microscopic creatures that literally have feeding frenzies like piranha. Two members of the archeology team are reduced to skeletons before the rest have a chance to escape. The little girl on Earth somehow manages to “save” Donna, but weare unsure whether the result is a good thing. Apparently the other patrons had been “saved” in the same manner a century ago. The Vashta Nerada take over one of the spacesuit a deadarcheoligst was wearing and gives chase. Watching a space suited skeleton fumble about like a zombie serves as quite a cliffhanger.

Like most first parts of a two part episode, “Silence in the Library” has more set up than pay off. I thought the set up here was a lot more interesting than the Sontaran two parter earlier this season, though. There was much more here to make me want to see the conclusion. I also got the hint, which may be proven horribly wrong next week, that Song might serve as the Doctor’s companion in 2010. Granted, their relationship may remain an untold story or as one of the 2009 holiday specials, but I am hoping otherwise. Song is an older wman and an intellectual. She would be a stronger companion than either the doe eyed schoolgirls Rose and Martha have been or the comedic foil like Donna. It would be an interesting change of pace.

My only complaint thus far is how Moffat reuses themes. Five out of his six episodes have revolved around a child as the central piece of the puzzle. They have all involved some form of relentless creatures that prey on humans. Half have taken place in the 51st century and Capt. Jack Harkness, who first appeared in Moffat’s first script, was from the time period. Quite a few of the Doctor’s adventures have taken place then outside of Moffat. Is there a significance? Probably a question for another time. For now, I liked this episode. I am hoping for a big payoff next week.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Compromises

The general election should be on the verge of beginning now even though neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama is likely to have things the way they want.

The Democrat rules committee has decided to split the disputed Michigan and Florida delegations between the two candidates. Clinton supporters are upset because she won Michigan fair and square as far as they are concerned and Obama was not even on the ballot in Florida. Privately, Bill Clinton was for the compromise and Hillary probably would be, too, if it were not her political fortunes at stake.

Will the “unfairness” of the decision be enough to keep Clinton going all the way to the convention? It might, but at this point, even if she wanted to, the money is running dry and so is her political capital. There comes a time when a never say die tenacity turns into a pain in the butt attitude that ensures no one wants you on their team period, much less serving as top dog. She may have some loud supporters, but unless they have incredibly deep pockets, she is going to have to quit before she gets battered by the super delegate later this week.

Obama finally quit his church in preparation for the general election. It is probably too little, too late. Rank and file voters have short memories, but activists do not. They will be out in full force reminding everyone of the connection between Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Well they should, I say. If Obama has been listening to Wright’s conspiratorial, hate filled rants for twenty years, you either have to assume he agrees with Wright whole heartedly or is such a shallow opportunist for staying with the huge church this long his campaign message is suspect. Either way, while he might get a huge bump when Clinton drops out, he is not going to have a clear, easy path to victory.
Caturday

The start of a new tradition at the Eye.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Battklestar Galactica--"Sine Que Non"

Sine qua non is a Latin phrase meaning "without which not"; usually appended to mean "without which it could not be". It is famously used by Andrew Jackson, who says the following after receiving an honorary degree from Harvard: "E pluribus unum, my friends. Sine qua non." The episode featured a lot about making tough choices. Some monumental changes have occurred because of those choices.

The catalyst for such crossroads is last week’s kidnapping of Roslin, Baltar, and at least a third of the Viper fleet on the Cylon BaseStar. The civilian leadership convinced the kidnappings were in retaliation for Athena shooting Natalie last episode, although the incidents were unrelated in truth. Adama throws Athena into the brig without Hera. Odd, since Hera was her motivation for the murder. Natalie subsequently dies in the infirmary.

Tom Zerak assumes the interim presidency in Roslin’s absence, but Adama refuses to work with him because of his terrorist past. Even Lee cannot convince his father, so he seeks out the aid of eccentric lawyer Romo Lampkin to find a more suitable candidate. The pair eliminate 47 choices until it dawns on Lampkin Lee’s idealism makes him the perfect choice. Lampkin confront Lee and pulls a gun on him. He believes Lee offers hope and hope is the last thing the doomed human race needs. It ought to accept its fate willingly. Lampkin uses the corpse of his cat, which he claims was killed, to illustrate his hopelessness. The cat was his last physical link to his wife, who died on Caprica. Lampkin is manipulating Lee to accept the position when he does not overtly want the office. The plan works and Lee accepts the presidency.

Adama is obsessed with finding Roslin to the point of wasting time and resources on what everyone else believes his a hopeless cause. He and Tigh get into a fist fight, ostensibly because the captured six is pregnant, but really because of his frustration over Roslin’s disappearance. I am surprised Tigh has it in him to knock up someone like Tracy Helfer. Good job, old man. Adama realizes he has lost his objectivity completely and relinquishes command to Tigh. Tigh obviously is filled with doubts considering his true Cylon nature may bring him to betray humanity. Adama will not change his mind. In fact, he opts to stay behind near the wreckage of the Cylon Hub in the hopes Roslin will return. Everyone, including his son, Lee, believes it is suicide.

I figured once Lee resigned his military post to accept a political appointment, he was going to rise to the presidency. I also figured the prophecy that a dying leader would show theway to Earth did not refer to Roslin. She has suffered from cancer the entire series. It would not be enough of a surprise. I am still in the school of thought that Lee is the fifth Cylon, but that does not preclude him from being the dying leader. It is something to think about, given tonight’s developing.

Tigh and Six’s child will be the first full Cylon child ever. Surely there will be some messianic vibes roaming about that development. Could that be part of the grand Cylon Plan we have been hearing so much about?

On a more personal note, I love the character of Lampkin. He is just like me. Eccentric, bitter, hates the human race as a hole, and became a lawyer so he can wallow in the fact every moral question comes in a shade of grey. He even works out his thought processes to his cat the same way I do. I am sure Boo really appreciates it, too. If you want to know what kind of lawyer I would have been, look to Lampkin and either lament or breathe a sigh of relief my health went south, whichever one you deem necessary.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
The Long, Dead End Road

Is the media trying to hint Hillary Clinton is an alcoholic? I ask that in all sincerity. That video of her swaying with drink in hand at a San Juan bar brought back memories of the old video of an obviously drunk Bush 43 goofing off at a wedding that circulated several years ago. I try not to buy into conspiracies, but I am certain big media is ga ga for Barack Obama and do not mind helping him along a bit. A subtle comparison in voters’ minds between Clinton and the grossly unpopular Bush would certainly help.

Not that he needs it. Obama is about forty delegates away from clinching the nomination and some two hundred ahead of Clinton. While he will only pick up about twenty delegates in the three final primaries, it is generally assumed he will pick up enough of the remaining two hundred or so undecided super delegates to soundly defeat Clinton.

Conventional wisdom says many of the remaining delegates would like to come out for Obama, but their districts ermt for Clinton in the primary. They are calling themselves undecided hoping Clinton will drop out so they will not have to go against their constituents’ wishes. Howard dean has called on them to make a decision regardless by the end of next week in order to avoid this nomination process from going all the way to the convention.

It may anyway. Odds are Clinton is going to hang on by any6 sliver she can. Right now, there has been no decision has to how Michigan and Florida, both won by Clinton even though the states did not follow the rules, will be counted, if at all. If the solution does not suit Clinton—and it will not, regardless –she will use it to carry on with the same mantra as the Democrats used during the Florida recount in 2000—count all the votes. The 2000 election is going to haunt us for a long time to come, no?
Katee Sackoff in a Bikini

Battlestar Galactica returns tonight after a two week hiatus and a nail biting cliffhanger. My review will be posted later tonight, but who knows. In the meantime, here is a halfnaked Katee Sackoff to tide you over:This photo can be enlarged considerably by clicking on it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lost--"There's No Place Like Home, Part II"

I barely know where to begin with this one. It might very well take the eight month hiatus before fans can dissect every jot and tittle of the fourth season finale. I can tell you it was awesome. Easily the best of the season, which is saying something considering how good “The Constant” and “The shape of things to Come” were. There were plenty of point of no return moments to talk about and a big question answered in the very last scene. If Losties are not satisfied with the revelations of “There’s No Place Like Home, Part II,“ they never will be with anything about this show.

Surprisingly, there were only a handful of flash forwards tonight, but they proved less is more. Since they were so monumental, I will save them for last. The island story was incredibly intense as events all came to a head We begin right where we left off. Keemy and his mercenaries are escorting the captured Ben to Lapidas’ chopper when Kate, Sayid, and Richard Alpert’s band of Others stage a rescue. In the scuffle that ensues, Alpert apparently kills Keemy. Once it is all said and done, Ben agrees to let Kate and Sayid leave the island for rescuing him. He heads back to the Orchid.

By the time hegets there, Jack and Sawyer have also arrived in an attempt to save Hurley. Locke and Jack are stuck in one of their classic disputes. Locke does not want Jack to leave. He believes it is his destiny to stay. Jack, being the skeptic, says no. Locke tells him he is going to have to lie to protect everyone once the island is moved. Jack responds that Locke is blooming crazy. He takes swwyer and Hurley back to thechopper. Ben and Locke enter the Orchid.

On the freighter, Desmond explains the C4 has any number of failsafe devices to keep anyone from completely disarming it. Michael realizes the ultimate trigger for it is the heart monitor strapped to Keemy’s arm. When his heart stops beating, boom. Michael suggests they can buy some time by freezing the connection between the power source and the explosives while Desmond tries to disarm the bomb anyway.

The orchid turns out to be a DHARMA station experimenting with time and space distortion. Ben does not bother to explain the hows and whys to Locke because he knows Jacob means for him to do the dirty deed of moving the island while Locke stays to take over leadership of the Others. Before any of that happens, Keemy enters the Orchid. He was wearing body armor and survived the gun shot. He reveals that if he dies, the bomb on the freighter blows. Ben does not really care and gives Keemy a fatal wound. Locke tries to extend Keemy’s life as long as possible, but is not very successful.

Lapidas discovers shortly off shore a bullet has pierced the chopper’s gas tank. The passengers throw out everything that is not nailed down, but they still need to lose another 200 pounds. Sawyer whispers something to Kate (presumably about Clementine, the favor she was to do for him in “Something Nice back Home.”), kisses her passionately, and jumps. The chopper has just enough fuel to make it to the freighter.

The only thing that has kept the bomb from going off after Keemey’s death is the coolant which has now run out. They hear the chopper coming, so Desmond runs out to tell them not to land because of the bomb. But with the dire straits the chopper is in, they do anyway. They scurry about refueling and patching up the hole while gathering up their people to go back to the island. Michael offers to keep the bomb cool until Jin can getaway. Desmond makes it to the chopper before it takes off, but Jin does not. A distraught Sun screams to go back for him, but Jack assures her there is no time. The ship explodes, presumably killing both Michael and Jin.

Ben makes it to the so called frozen donkey wheel It resembles on old grindstone. Ben slips on some iceand injures his arm exactly as it was in Tunisia during “The shape of Things to Come.” When he turns the wheel, the sky above the island turns purple and the loud whirring noise begins just like in “Live together, Die alone” when the Swan hatch exploded. What could have been a jump the shark moment turns out to be enormously cool. The island disappears. It was obviously teleported somewhere else, either through time and space or both. The result lands Ben in Tunisia eight months later.

Sawyer makes it back to the island. I guess he is a darn fine swimmer. He finds Juliet half drunk. She points out to the ocean where the black smoke from the burning freighter billows into the sky. The sky turns purple at that moment. It is the last we see of them and the group Daniel Faraday was ferrying to the freighter. As a interesting bit of foreshadowing, Charlotte stays behind because she claims the island is her home. Miles knows some secret about her. He decides to stay on the island as well.

The chopper crashes into the ocean once they realize the island is gone and ii runs out of fuel They all make it to a raft, although there is aclose call with Desmond. The writers were pretty intent on convincing us he was never going to make it. The Ocanic Six, Desmond, and Lapidas are stranded until nightfall when a stray boat finds them. It turns out to be Penny’s boat. She and Desmond are finally reunited. Everyone is happy but Jack, who realizes Locke was right. Whoever wanted Ben wanted them dead, too. They concoct thestory we heardat last week’s press conference and carry it out. Lapidas agrees to keep quiet as does desmond, who only wants to be with Penny. The rescue plays out exactly like was said last episode.

Now, the flashforwards. Call term short but bittersweet. The first beingins right after the one from “Through the Looking glass.” Kate pulls her car in reverse after she hears Jack tell her they have to go back. She gets out and gives Jack the what for, finally slapping him for mentioning Aaron. Jeremy Betham, the man in the coffin, visited theboth of them at some point. For Hurley, he is visited onvce by walt, who does not appear to know Michael is dead and by Sayid, who frees him from the mental institution because someone is out to kill him. Kate wakes up in the middle of the night to find Claire in Aaron’s room. Claire angrily warns her not to take Aaron back to the island. Kate wakes up, believing it was a nightmare. Sun confront Widmore in London. She is one tough cookiw.

Jack has the final flashforward in which he breaks into the funeral home at night to view the body. He is not alone. Ben appears out of the shadows. He asks if Bentham has visited him. Jack says yes and he told him everyone had to go back to the island. Bad things happened all because they left when they were not supposed to. Jack agrees with Ben they have to go back, but does not believe he can convince the others to agree. Ben reminds him they need to take Betham as well. We finally learn who is in the coffin—John Locke.Locke left the Orchid after Ben went off to move the island and assumed his place as the leader of the Others. I have a hunch some of the bad thingsthat happen in the future have to do with Charlotte’s secret. It was sort of dropped out of nowhere, but whatever she is hiding, it perked the attention of the usually self-interested miles. I am happy to think they will both be a part of subsequent seasons.

Christian Sheppard appeared to Michael just before the freighter exploded and told him he could go now. The island had been preventing him Ben, and Jack from dying. Whatever task it had for him was done. Apparently Jack and Ben have yet to fulfill their destinies. One assumes Locke did since he was allowed to commit suicide, but if they have to bring him back, who knows? I do not believe we have seen the last of Desmond and Penny, either. Who would want to kill Hurley, for that matter? Although he does appear to be falling further into madness. Do you think Locke and Sawyer will now spar with one another the way Locke and Jack used to go at it?

I am not sure what else to say right now. I imagine other eagle eyed fans have caught lots more stuff I will have to talk about later. For now, I say I really likedthis one. It is going to be a long eight months.

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

UPDATE: The garbled phone message Kate received in her dream before encountering Claires was, "You have to go back before it is too late."

UPDATE II: When Sayid arrived at Sant Rosa Mental Hospital to rescue Hurley, he found him playing chess, apparently with no one else. As Hurley was leaving, he won the game in his final move, saying, "Checkmate, Mr. Eko."

UPDATE III: Before Sawyer jumps out of the chopper, he whispers to Kate,"I have a daughter in Alabama. Find her and tell her I'm sorry."
Redemption, Celebrity Style

Sharon Stone has apologized for her recent comments blaming the May 12th earthquake in China which killed 70,000+ people on bad karma. Stone previously believed China had suffered the disaster because of its poor treatment of Tibet. I would like to apologize to Stone for critiquing her unwise statement a couple days ago, but I just cannot. Stone retraction was an effort—and a futile one, ultimately—at staving off being dropped by Christian Dior over the controversy. Stone also offered relief aid out of her own pocket, thereby proving Ayn rand might have been onto something about self-interest leading to charity.

Yes, I hate to admit that might be true. I do so loathe Ayn Rand.
As for other celebrities rehabbing from mistakes, Nick Hogan, who is currently serving an eight month sentence for the car accident that left his friend in a permanent coma, finally has something to think about while pittering away those lonely hours behind bars. You may recall Hogan whined to his mother last week there was nothing to do but think, but there was nothing to think about. Well, dad to the rescue. Hulk Hogan is planning to rehab his son in the only way celebrities know how—with a reality show.

The potential show—ah, heck. Why call it that? VH1 executives are probably crawling to Hogan’s doorstep now to pick it up—would follow Nick’s transformation from a self-absorbed, spoiled brat who cares about nothing but himself to a self-absorbed, spoiled brat who can fake sincerity for thirteen episodes with an option for a second season as long as he gets executive producer credit. Not that the title should come with any responsibilities. You know, a Queen of England kind of thing.

Nick might even dedicate the show to what is his face. You know, the guy in the coma who Nick never thinks about while in jail? Hopefully, the kid’s family will sue the bejebus out of the Hogans if the show ever comes to pass.

With all this two faced rear end covering, I feel the need to end on something positive. Would have thought it would involve anarchist punk rocker Johnny Rotten? But it does. Rotten has taken pity on Britney Spears and would like to write a song for her in hopes she can turn her career around with it. Or maybe he is just sick of the self pitying tripe she has put out in recent days. Or perhaps he sees her heading down the same self-destructive path fellow Sex Pistol Sid Vicious took. Either way, it is all good. Who knew Rotten had a heart?
Emilie de Ravin

I have not posted any photos of this beauty in far too long. have you noticed these photos I have been posting have been getting more risque as of late? If I keep on blogging, they might eventually become bare butt naked.

Tonight serves up the final Lost of 2008. There will be an eight month wait for season five, but an even longer wait for Emilie de Ravin, aka Claire.

The official word is a female cast member will be taking season five off and will not reappear until the sixth and final season in 2010. considering Claire has been whisked away by her allegedly dead father, the most likely choice for the actress taking a season long hiatus is de Ravin.

Catch her while you can.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Office Spaced

I am no Luddite. I will gladly embrace any piece of new technology that comes about. But I am traditional. I will not stop using my trusty old stuff until it has beyond the shadow of a doubt gone to live with god. I do not own an iPod because I have a perfectly good CD player. I still have a boon box from the late ‘80’s locked away in storage because it still works and Marty McFly might show up at some point and really need it. Or some other rationale beyond me being a packrat. An anally organized packrat, but a packrat nonetheless.

Since my trusty old laptop eased into the choir invisible’s tenor section last September, I have been using the Microsoft Works program which came bundled with my new laptop for all my writing. I have not seen anyone use anything other than Word in thirteen years, but for some reason Bill Gates decided we needed a cheap knock off of Office automatically on our computers. Well, presumably the reason is to force us all to go out and fork over the bucks to get the latest Office suite since everyone else is using it instead of the bundled software. Slap me silly and call me a sheep, but I have—very much out of character –abandoned Works for the latest Office package myself.

I am in completely new territory with it. I miss the more basic, straightforward interface of older versions the same way I dislike the Vista operating system. Microsoft has this backwards idea it can improve your productivity by hiding features behind ten extra steps as though you have nothing better to do than go on a scavenger hunt for the doohickey that inserts page numbers. But I am adjusting to all that.

In fact, I am very happy with Office 2007 overall. I mostly like it because there is a very convenient magnifying feature which allows my poor, lone peeper to easily see what I am typing without adjusting the font size, which I have to do from time to time when viewing certain documents or web pages. I cannot say I am the biggest Office fan just yet, but I am getting there. If I could just find that darn thingamajiggy I need right now…
Just Curious

How many of the pundits involved in the current love fest with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan absolutely despised him up until yesterday for being Bush's spinmeister during some heated times in Iraq, the Joe Wilson scandal, and Hurricane Katrina?

Destiny may be fickle, but she is no where near as bad as the national press corps.
Neil Gaiman to Write for Doctor Who?

It has been rumored off an on from the beginning (I guess it is still rumored), but comic book legend Neil Gaiman may write an episode of Doctor Who for the fifth season. I have read many of the comics Gaiman has written and am especially fond of his award winning run on Sandman. Reading Good Omens, a comedy novel about the Apocalypse he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett, was one of the only pleasant experiences I had during my first year of law school. So, yes, I would be happy if Gaiman were to pen an adventure for the good Doctor.

Gaiman’s style has a certain ethereal, gothic feel to it. He likes to dabble in existentialism and mythology in a gentle, but effective way. He can be scary and creepy without any gore or extreme violence. I have heard some comparisons with his style to Tim Burton’s, but I am only a casual fan of Burton and am easily engrossed by Gaiman’s work, so I do not put a whole lot of stock in the similarities of their style.

I can see why Gaiman and new show runner Steven Moffat would work together. Moffat has astyle similar to Gaiman. “The Empty Child/The Doctor dancers,” “The Girl in the Fireplace,” and “Blink” have storytelling elements that would fit in well wioth any of Gaiman’s work. The prospect of Gaiman writing an episode with Moffat penning three or four additional gives me hope the show may make a return to the early Tom Baker era which was more like Hammer horror films than Star Trek.

I would not mind more comic book personalities writing for Doctor who, either. It happens in American science fiction all the time. Writers practically bounce between the mediums of comic books and television. Neil Gaiman himself has already written for Babylon 5. Doctor Who is a “No Americans Allowed” show, but that still leaves a lot of big names: Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont, and perhaps even Alan Moore if he has not already gone too Hollywood for such things. With Russell T. Davies being such a comic book nut, I am surprised it has not already happened before now.
Evangeline Lilly?

The Lost fourth season finale is tomorrow night. After that, we poor Losties will suffer through an eight montgh drought. Better catch glimpses of this natural beauty while we can.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is David Tennant Leaving Doctor Who

With Eurovision delaying the next episode of Doctor Who for a week, Whovians have gotten bored and engaged in their favorite pastime: starting rumors. The favorite appears to be the fate of David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor. The following is a round up and a bit of rationalizing it all into some sense. Why I am I thinking about this now? Because Hillary Clinton campaign death throes are too boring to write about.

Doctor Who is going on hiatus in 2009. There will be either three or four ninety minute specials spread out over the year. The exact number is disputed because Russell T. Davies has stated Tennant signed on for three after the general assumption is there would be four. Davies’ statement has lead some to believe the doctor will regenerate in the 2009 Christmas special into the Eleventh Doctor, whoever that may be.

A regeneration may happen, but I have my doubts. The specials are being filmed back to back in order to give Tennant the entire 2009 year off in order to appear in the royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet. It would be strange to specially film all the Tennant specials consecutively, publicly claiming it is to give the actor a year off, and then hasve him replaced at the end in one of the specials. I suppose it could be a misdirection so the regeneration would be a surprise, but I cannot see it.

More than likely, tennant will return for the fifth season. I imagine he would like a chance to work with new show runner Steven Moffat. What is more, I imagine the BBC gave Tennant the year off so he would come back for what will be a year of transition. It would be tough for fans to adjust to a new head writer, new Doctor, new companion, and new supporting cast all at once. Better to give them a familiar face for at least another year.

But like I said, that is just my guess. For all I know, Tennant is already out the door after filming a scene in which he regenerates into James Nesbitt, Robert Carlyle, Simon Pegg, or Alexander Siddig, to name a few choices. If so, though, I will bet it will not remain a secret until Christmas 2009.
There is Always Room for Jello

Quick quiz for you: which of the following makes Jello Biafra the bigger hypocrite:

Biafra, former lead singer of the punk band, Dead Kennedys, is currently having a hissy fit over radio shock jock Michael Savage’s use of the band’s anthem, “California Uber Alles,” in a recent celebration of the diagnosis of cancer for…wait for it…Ted Kennedy.

Oh, but there is more. The Dead Kennedys were not much of anything until until they became the subject of an obscenity trial for liner images in their 1986 album, Frankenchrist. The case ended in a mistrial and Biafra has since styled himself as an anti-censorship crusader. Biafra even parlayed his crusade into a pitiful campaign for Mayor of San Francisco. His moonbat ideas (squatter’s rights for the homeless, anytime, anywhere.) were so loony, even San Franciscans could not bring themselves to elect him.

But Biafra has changed his tune on censorship after the Michael Savage affair. He is now calling for “media reform” from the government. Media reform, by the way, translates to censoring people Biafra does not like.

To recap: AntiChristian imagery in album art is just ducky. But the lead singer of the Dead Kenndys does not like the idea of insulting a Kennedy facing his mortality. The former is apparently free expression and the other is, well… your guess is as good as mine.

I am not big on censorship. It is a touchy issue, but I am all for Michael Savage, disgusting as he is, and Jello Biafra, disgusting hypocrite as he is, to say whatever they want. The right to offend people is just one of those rough edges you have to endure in order to enjoy freedom of speech. If it upsets you to realize that, join me in my wounded idealistic hope that someday stupid people will realize obscene does not equal artistic and intellectual. Not that the day will come anytime soon.
Torchwood: Year Two Music Video

Here is my music video encompassing the second season of Torchwood. It is set to "Dream On" by Aerosmith. These season long videos involve sorting through thirteen episodes in order to select the ones that best complement the music. In other words, these are a pain in the butt to make. Enjoy the labor of love.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Karma Chameleon

I blasted al gore a while back for using the typhoon in Myanmar as a stepping stone in the jousting windmills crusade he calls raising awareness of climate change, so I have to be fair and critique Sharon Stone for her doofus statements blaming the recent earthquake in China on karma.

Stone is not fashionable enough to embrace Hollywood’s pet religion, Scientology, so she still remains a Buddhist or Kabbalaist or maybe even both since I believe you can be pretty much anything you want with either as long as you spout off annoying platitudes about pacifism and being kind. Sharon Stone has complained that China has not been kind to Tibet (That is not the half it, but I digress) and the devastating earthquake occurred because their chickens have come home to roost, presumably bringing soy sauce and lots of rice with them.

Personally, if Stone were really concerned about bad karma, she would be on a world wide good will tour to make up for starring in The Specialist instead of wagging her finger in the general direction of China. Who the heck wanted to know Stone’s opinion on the earthquake in the first place? Was Paris Hilton not available for comment? At least George Clooney could have come up with something reasonably intelligent to say.

You know what? Stuff happens. I know it. You know it. The Chinese know even if they are upset relief efforts are likely impeding their plans to invade Taiwan before the summer Olympics. I will grant one high point in all this mess. The Tibetans, in spite of everything, have offered aide to the thousands upon thousands who have been affected by the disaster. It takes a strong people to help their enemies when they are down rather than kick them. I do not buy into karma, but I do buy into that.
Sydney Pollack (1934-2008)

The great director has passed away from cancer.
Memorial Day

Yes, I know using a Jessica Simpson photo might be considered irreverent. Then again, today has traditionally become a day of playing baseball, grilling hot dogs, and watching war movie marathons. Why not add ogling a pretty girl to the list?

Remember the sacrifice of those who have enabled you and me to do all those things in the first place.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cam-Pains

There has not been a whole lot of fall out from Hillary Clinton’s statement she was staying in the race for the nomination because Barak Obama might get assassinated. I assume most people are either assuming, as I did, Clinton is a person who is so smart, she cannot recognize when she says something insensitive. Perhaps there is a certain pity in it for her. The writing on the wall could not be any clearer she is not going to be the nominee. Really, her delusional notion of entitlement to power would be pitiful enough if it were not happening before a national audience.

Clinton must be a glass half empty kind of person. Being a US Senator from New York is a rare privilege. Even more so considering that in spite of being the junior Senator, she has far surpassed Chuck Shumer in power and prestige. She would be a shoo in for Majority Leader, if she wanted the job. But that does not seem to be good enough for her. I am not even confident she would play second fiddle and take the Veep slot on the unlikely chance Obama would offer it to her.

The only way he possibility would even come up is if the super delegates strong armed Obama into it. I cannot see that happening, either. I do not believe the Democrats are as wounded by the prolonged primary as some have suggested. But I am curious to see whether any rule changes take place now that people areaware of the super delegate system and how its existence can mean the will of the voters can be overturned by the elites. People like obama, so they may not raise a stink about it yet, but in the unlikely chance he loses to John McCain in November, Democrats are going to turn their wrath on something. It will probably be the super delegate system. Or at least it ought to be.

Former republican Congressman Bob Barr won the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president this weekend. Libertarians and disgruntled republicans are excited at the prospect of his campaign, but I do not see it having any more impact than Ron Paul’s run for the white House, mainly because Barr’s supporters are recycling overly enthusiastic lines about Barr they used to use for Paul. They will soon turn to conspiratorial accusations of media bias which is causing Barr to lose just like Paul. If only his message coul get out, why everyone would vote en masse for Barr. Or Paul. Or whichever Libertarian they are currently running. I suppose the party will fair better this election than in the past. It just will not be enough.
Biblical Allusions in Lost

It is the Sabbath. What better time to delve into the Biblical implications of Lost since I spend so much time talking about the philosophical unerpinnings? Plus it is a holiday weekend, so I do not have much else to do other than what for a memorial Day cookout. It is going to be a long hiatus after next week’s season finale, to boot. Try not to think too much about that.

Before getting into anything, I have to note Lost creator J. J. Abrams is an avowed, Christians are brainwashed idiots atheist. I am not quite as certain about show runners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, but considering they have a penchant for existential philosophy and writers tend to be freethinking sorts, I imagine religion is not high on their list of favorite things. But even freethinkers find religion a fascinating topic to explore, so it is probably not to wildly off the mark to make the following allusions.

There is a certain schizophrenia about faith on Lost. The inherent conflict is between Jack, a man of science, and Locke, a man of faith, with the rest of the characters lining up in one camp or the other. It appears ultimately faith will win out, assuming Jack is the central to the story’s resolution. Judging by the flashforwards, he will be taking a hard, reluctant journey towards accepting fate. But even with the show’s main them being faith, there have been some very clear critiques of religion.

One of the foremost has been the heroin filled Virgin Mary statues as a not so subtle visualization of Karl Marx’s assertion that religion is the opiate of the masses. Perhaps that one is just too clever to bea real critique. How about in “There’s no Place Like Home, Part I,” when Hurley is about to use a Jesus stue as a weapon against what he suspects is someone who has broken into his home? He finds his friends have thrown him a surprise party instead. His mother scolds him that “Jesus is not a weapon.” Critics of religion, and Christianity in particularly, often claim the wars fought in the name of God as a reason to disbelieve in a divine being. Calling Jesus the Prince of Peace is meant to be ironic to them.

Take those two points as a microcosm of the show’s theme as awhole. Locke’s faith in the island is so strong, he considers the death of Boone a necessary sacrifice. He loses all anguish over his part in Boone’s end when he takes the blinding light from the Swan hatch as a sign from above. He is being misguided, but he “needs” to believe. Ben is using faith in Jacob and/or the island to control his people and force them to take all sorts of brutal actions in the name of pleasing one or the other. Even the more skeptical ones like Juliet fall into line as weapons for a higher power. So maybe the two staues of Mary and Jesus do have a deeper meaning.

Aside from any general critiques of religion (Well one more. Sigmund Freud described the belief in God as an “ocean feeling.” The name Oceanic Airlines was chosen carefully.) , there are definite Biblival allusions. The flight number “815” is a likely allusion to Genesis *:15. It is the verse in which God first spoke to Noah about his plans to destroy the world, but spare a chosen family to rebuild civilization later.

Think also of bearing 305, the course one has to remain on in order to avoid the time anomaly when leaving the island. It surely refers to John 3:05, a verse carved into Mr. Eko’s tick. The verse is about Jesus speaking to Nicodemus that no man may enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless he is born of both water and spirit. The verse is a central part of born again theology. One should note the verse is indicative of a faith v. reason conflict. Nicodemus was a scholarly man who walked away from Jesus confused as to how a man could be born again.

Christian Sheppard (see where this is going?) has apparently risen from the dead, with an empty coffin to represent Christ’s empty tomb, no less, to lead definitely lead Claire and Aaron to safety, to guide Locke on how to protect the island, and evidently guide Jack to some special purpose. I think you can see why it looks like faith is going to eventually win out over reason. The question is going to be, considering how faith has had mixed results on the show thus far, how bittersweet will the ultimate outcome be?
Kristen Bell...

..pretty much rings my bell.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

From Out of the Shadows

I will say one thing for Steven Moffat beyond gushing how thrilled I am he is taking over Doctor who in 210. he knows how to create aliens that scare the bejebus out you:
Deep Impact

For those skeptical of the efficacy of prison rehabilitation, skip the current status of Nick Bollea, son of one Hulk Hogan. Not that you should ever look to the Hogans as shining beacons of anything other than potential all star guests of The Jerry Springer Show. Even Dr. Phil does not want to cash in on them. trhey are more dutch elm disease than family tree.

Nick is currently serving an eight month prison sentence in Florida for a reckless driving incident that left his friend, John Garziano, in a permanent coma. Bear in mind Bollea visited Graziano shortly before heading to trial in what was heavily criticized as a shallow public relations move. Was that a fair assessment? Sure, the media was alerted, but perhaps there was a genuine concern behind it, right? It was a chance to show Nick the consequences of his irresponsible behavior and give him something to think about in prison.

Did it work? What do you think?
Bollea is being kept in a single cell at the Pinellas County Jail because he is one of only two minors serving time in the adult facility. On the phone, he cries often and is comforted by his mother Linda.

Nick: “All you do is sit there and think, and there’s nothing to think about.”
Nothing to think about. You know, there is self-absorbed and then there are people like Nick Hogan. those who learn nothing from the damage they cause and need to be warehoused far beyond eight months before they destroy someone else's life.
Doctor Who Second Half Trailer

Here is the trailer for the second half of Doctor who season four, which was delayed a week thanks to Eurovision. The trailer features Billie Piper prominently as Rose and tons of Daleks, including a short peek at Davros in the shadows.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Clinton Invokes RFK Assassination

Keith Olberman just gave birth to a litter of kittens live on the air over it, so I doubt it will mean much in the long term, but Hillary Clinton defended her decision to stay in the Democrat nomination race by reminding everyone anything can happen. You see, her husband did not secure the nomination until June 1992 and we should all remember Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the summer of 1968. So, you know, it may take a while for Barack Obama to win and someone might even kill him before then,.

Clinton has spent the afternoon backtracking on her statement She meant to invoke the assassination in an historical perspective, not to imply she was hoping some decides to make a name for himself by killing the first likely black president.

It is telling the possibility is foremost on the minds of Michelle Obama and Clinton that Obama is placing himself in a precarious position by running for president. Mike Huckabee made a distasteful joke at an NRA meeting a couple weeks ago along similar lines, proving it was on his mind, too. The NRA crowd, whom one assumes are not big Obama backers, acted in appropriate disapproval.

I do not think Clinton is hoping for something like an assassination to keep obama from securing the nomination,. I think she is just one of those people who is so smart she says stupid things without realizing how they sound to most people. I suspect she is also an emotionally cold person to whom life is largely a political calculation. That is what having a sense of entitlement to leadership will do to you. The emotional impact of events on real people is lost.

All that said, this election certainly is turning intro a retread of 1968. John mcCain is a liberal republican who got kicked around the first time he ran for president. An old school Democrat is running against a young hipster on how to end an unpopular war. A third party candidate like Bob barr may be a huge factor in an election with immigration as an issue rather segregation, but it is emotionally charged issue regarding race anyway. The last thing we need is an asassin’s bullet making everything come full circle.
Mutt Lange's Other Woman

No, that is not Shania Twain’s mother with her in the above photo. Both Twain’s parents died tragically when she was very young. And the good times just kept on rolling, because that woman is Marie0Anne Thiedaud, a former close employee and the woman with whom husband Mutt Lange has been carrying on an affair

Yep. My Def Leppard producer has been cheating on Shania freakin’ Twain. With a woman who, only five years younger than twain, looks like ten miles of bad road.

What the heck? At forty-two, twain is still hot. He is not backing the beast with two backs with this Thiebaud chick for money, either. He has loads. So what is wrong with lange? Is he a masochist? Does he have mommy issues? Could he just be an idiot? Maybe so. When was the last time you heard a Def Lappard song you liked? Heck, when was the last time you heard a Def Leppard song period? Lange must have “Amageddoned It” with both his marriage and career.

In all seriousness, I thought Shania Twain was hot stuff when she hit it big in the mid- ’90’s. she started going a little wonky there in the late’90’s when country’s popularity started fading, but so did other semi-country acts like Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw. You can probably throw the Dixie Chicks in there, too. By the time I read a Rolling Stone interview with in 2002, Twain was flirting with Art Garfunkal cosmic awareness type weirdness. But she was still talented and still beautiful have a difficult time figuring out why a man would dump her-- especially for that old bag above. You do not go eat at Billy Bob’s Flat Beer & Boiled Shrimp Emporium when you have Red Lobster at home.

At least I have an excuse to post her duet with Willie Nelson on “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”
Jessica Simpson Does Self Breast Exam

Surely there is no lack of volunteers to examine them for her. I am no doctor, but I do have a compassionate soul. that should count for something to her. I guess this is proof Tony Romo has headed for the hills. or away from Jessica's hills, at any rate.

The photo is awfully blurry. I owe you a better image of the lovely Ms. Simpson, do I not?Not bad.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is the Point of Facebook?

With rumors surfacing Microsoft is about to purchase face book, presumably for an obscenely large hunk of change, I have to ask--why?

I have been on Facebook for a few months now. I signed up solely because I had been getting frequent e-mails from readers asking if I was a member. Rather than saying no and enduring a sales pitch, I joined. I have hooked up with some old friends from college and high school I probably would otherwise not have. I have also developed a fondness for the Scrabble rip off, Scrablous, that has sweept through the ranks of the face book faithful. But otherwise, I have found the place rather boring.

Aside from finding some old friends, I have fielded random friend requests from people I have never met before and cannot know anything about until I add them since the vast majority of profiles are private. I assumed they were blog readers since many folks seemed to think it wasv odd I as a blogger was not on the site to begin with. Alas, no. They have by and large been random people who evidently click on friend requests and take their chances you will join their collection. Sue me, I generally have even though I find it peculiar. More peculiar than when the same happens to me on MySpace.

It comes back to my original question of what is the point? There is nothing thrilling about it. The site is 99% applications which clutter up your page, quickly grow tiresome, and are annoyingly intrusive when each of your friends invites you to try a dozen new applications a day. Somehow this is a multimillion dollar venture? If so, you should be able to throw a rock up in the air and make a fortune, since that is about as thrilling as anything Facebook can muster.

Yes, I am a face book detractor. One of the few around these days, it would seem. I take heart in the news Microsoft may be taking over, though. I know their history of improving things by making them even more complicated to the point of uselessness (See: Widows Vista) that most everyone else will get tired of the site just like I have.
Texas Had No Right to Take Sect's Children

Wow, you think?

A Texas Court of Appeals found the state had exceeded its authority when it seized children from a polygamist sect. The ruling may very well torpedo any further actions against the sect. the court specifically stated the legal and rational grounds for seizing the hundreds of children were insufficient under Texas law.

I have zero knowledge of relevant texas law, but I understand the rationale was “protecting’ the girls from being pushed into underage marriages and the boys from being taught that is a hunky dory way of doing things. The children are being brainwashed definitely, but are in no immediate danger, which is the requirement for an emergency seizure without a court order. It should be noted the court did not call for the immediate return of the children to the sect.

These kinds of cases fascinate me. Situations involving religious freedom versus child welfare have gotten a lot less cut and dry for me. Used to be, in my more fundamentalist days, I was solidly in the my religion and no one else’s school of thought-- assuming you can classify that as thought. After spending some time around people my age who had been brought up in sheltered, closed environments, I began to see not only the dangers of brainwashing kids, but the realization it only has to go on a short period of time for it to be irreversible. These days I am more inclined to leave religious zealots to their own beliefs up until children are in physical danger. After all, it is not a crime for parents to teach their kids stupid things. If it was, we would all be wards of the state.
The High Cost of Being Denise Richards

Denise Richards, who played second fiddle to Neve Campbell in Wild Things as far as I am concerned and high priced hookers as far as Charlie Sheen is concerned, went on Larry king to plead poverty. She claims to have been forced into starring in a new reality show because of a cash flow problem. She has no particular interest in reality television, but still seems awfully upset ex husband sheen has tried to block production of the show.

Sheen says he wants to keep Richards from exploiting their children. How is that for a change of pace in Hollywood parenting? Probably hypocritical since Richards, one of their children, and Martin Sheen have all appeared on sheen’s current sitcom, but why split hairs? Maybe his heart is in the right place. Richards just says he is a self-centered, prostitute lovin’ meanie who wants to start his family to death. While I admit sheen is on the sleazy side (I have seen Two and a Half Men and say with much embarrassment I cackle like I am stirring a bubbling cauldron over the juvenile humor.), but I get a sense he might just be on the up and up here.

Sheen pays Richards $ 52,000 a month in child support. That is more money than most hard working people earn in a year. But wait. Richards also received $60,000 a month in alimony for two years--adding up to $ 1.44 million. She also owns a chunk of the aforementioned Two and a Half Men, the syndication package of which alone could net her up to $ 25 million.

It is one thing to want as much cash as you can out of life. It is something else entirely to pretend you need it for anything other than mainting a frivolous lifestyle. I guess people feel sorry for her regardless, though. Right?
McCain Hosts Veep Retreat

...and the prospective Veeps should beat a hasty retreat. Republican nominee John McCain has invited alleged Veep choices Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, and Charlie Crist, along with a small army of consultants and BFF Lindsay Graham on a vacation retreat this holiday weekend. We can be pretty confident the weekend is not all about grilling burgers and working on suntans. This is McCain running names up the flagpole and seeing who salutes. There is still an air of lost cause for McCain’s presidential prospects, so I doubt anyone who aspires to hold another office in the future is going to join the ticket.

If I am right, I doubt any of three will want the Veep nod. Romney has plans to run again in 2012. Losing the nomination and then serving on the losing ticket would be two strikes against him next time around. Besides, if he could lure conservatives to the polls, he would be the nominee instead. I would not be terribly shocked to see Romney in a possible Cabinet, but even that might be too big a risk. Cabinet heads are the first ones to roll when someone needs to take a fall for the president.

Jindal is a rising star, but that is probably the reason he would refuse the Veep slot. He has ambitions, maybe even fr president himself. He is youg, too. At only 36, he is the youngest governor in the country. McCain cannot very well critique Barack Obama’s inexperience when he has someone a decade younger than Obama on his ticket with even less elected office experience. There are no plusses there for either McCain or Jindal.

That leaves us we Florida Governor Crist. I have no idea if he has further ambitions or if Sunshine State governor would satisfy him as the pinnacle of his career. I cannot imagine him launching a legitimate White House bid on his own later with any expectations of winning, but lots of pols think they can catch lightning in a bottle. He probably has nothing to lose by running with McCain and he may bring Floridainto the McCain camp. But that is also something that would probably have happened anyway.

Out of three, I would think Crist is the most likely to agree to run, though maybe not McCain’s first choice. He owes Crist. The governor is credited with turning his campaign around with his endorsement during the Florida primary campaign.Crist’s position on the ticket may serve as nothing more than a thank you. Maybe I am just being cynical. I still cannot figure out why Jack Kemp joined Bob Dole’s doomed campaign in 1996. Maybe he and Crist are more optimistic than I give them credit for.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol's Goose Cooked

I figured David Cook was going to win tonight. Simon Cowell confirmed it when he backtracked shortly before the winner was announced and almost groveled to Cook for brutalizing him last night. Frankly, I think Cowell had it right the first time. David Archuleta killed the competition over the last few weeks, singing with soul well beyond his years. He was clearly the best singer, but American Idol is not about who is the best singer. It is all about popularity. The girls went ga ga for Cook, so he is the man of the hour.

Since you were thinking it, yes, I embrace my own hypocrisy on the issue. I liked Brooke White oodles even when she was clearly in over her head. But it was not all the frizzy hair, bare feet, and gentle sense of naiveté. She was a balladeer in a contest in which contestants have to be a jack of all trades and who cares if of is a master of any. I feared David Archuleta was in the same boat. He was just too good to be popular.

Then again, I bet he and cook wind up like Clay Aiken and Reuben Stoddard. Stoddard won AI, then quickly fell off the map while Aiken carved out a niche for himself --an odd niche of young girls, old women, and gays, but a niche nonetheless --and is still around. Cook cannot aspire to be much more than Eddie Vedder. Archuleta will get his own steady and loyal following.

One other note. I do not know if she was actually drunk or not, but I swore there wwre several times I thought Paula Abdul was going to rip her clothes off and start dancing on stage. She was boogying down to songs that honestly dud not merit the gyrating. She was particularly bad about George Michael, which I thought was doubly pitiful considering he is gay as a French horn. Even a young, nubile woman could not crack that, much less poor Paula. Was it my imagination, or was Randy Jackson holding her as she sobbed to Cook’s final song? I swear that is what it looked like.
Paris is Not an Heiress

Look into the bugged out eyes of that Chihuahua. There is an animal desperate to make a break for it like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. If only the little critter could reach the kick stand on a motorcycle. Anyway, Paris Hilton is back in the news. It is not just because she has expressed the terrifying desire to breed with her new Good Charlotte boy toy, but that the revelation her grandfather is giving away his fortune to charity is an extremely touchy subject.

Baron Hilton, founder of the famous hotel chain, has expressed both a desire to help make the world a better place with his fortune once he is gone and a deep embarrassment for Paris’ antics to the point the does not want her blowing his money on further making a spectacle of herself. His concerns might not go in that exact order, but I will give the old chap the benfit of the doubt. Maybe he does care about the mass of unwashed humanity who cannot afford to set foot in one of his hotels.

In a recent interview, a visibly annoyed paris curtly demanded a reporter ask his next question when the subject of her inheritance came up. She will openly discuss her DUI and stint in jail, but when it comes to Paris the Heiress, mum is the word. Mum is also the word on that favorite Bible verse she owes Larry King, but I digress, as I so often do.

I am going to shock all of you here and point out that greed might very well be behind Paris’ recent altruistic behavior. She is worth a ton of cash on her own, but money is like Jell-O. There is always room for more. While I am certain Paris has no clue who Ayn rand is, she certainly has the concept of the virtue of selfishness down pat. I think it is safe to say her charity work, such as meeting with children in a South African orphanage, was an attempt to connect the concept of charity with herself just to win her grandfather’s approval and maybe more than a few of his nickels.

I gave her some credit for that act a few months ago. How did my cynical old heart ever make such an error?
Primary Concerns

Both victories occurred with wider margins than I predicted, but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each won the primary they were expected to. Obama has moved ahead in the pledged delegate count to the point Clinton could catch up even if she swept the final three contests. Polls are showing Obama with a comfy lead over republican John McCain, too. The lead will get an even bigger bounce once Clinton is dragged kicking and screaming out of the limelight. Even afterwards, she will call for divine intervention to ensure her victory.

Pundits have been saying fr months it was already coming down to the super delegates, yet they talked about it last as though it was some new, exciting revelation. I kept flipping channels to watch coverage in between the American Idol finale (for a seventeen year old, David Archuleta can belt out a tune like a seasoned pro) and munching grilled hamburgers. Kentucky was called early and there was almost a four hour wait for Oregon’s results. The gap was filled with so much false drama, it was excruciatingly painful to watch even for the small amount of time I endured it.

The fact is, the super delegates want to go en masse for Obama. The only Clinton pick ups of late have been in districts she has handily carried. I suspect that is the case with the so called “uncommitted” delegates. Clinton won their district and they are afraid to anger constituents by supporting Obama. Clinton most certainly is aware of that, but I do not see how she can use it to her advantage other than delaying the inevitable nomination of Obama.

Much of the night was spent dwelling on Ted Kennedy. I have not written about him yet. There was not much to say up until yesterday when it was announced her had a brain tumor. I am still at a loss. I am certainly not happy to see him meet such afate. We do mot see eye to eye as far as politics go, but certain things transcend such petty concerns. I could name two past associates of mine who have verbally wished him dead. That is tacky, even for Regent University. 9Whoops. There I go again with that accursed place.) People are divided between the Kennedy mystique and the reality they have feet of clay exposed for the entire country to see. Very flawed, but deserving of some dignity in what is likely the final chapter of their patriarch’s life.
Doctor Who Music Video

It leans pretty heavily on Donna Noble's antics. I was not big on Catherine Tate joining the cast, but so far she has been a great addition and perfect foil for the doctor. None of that unrequited love angst which has gotten so annoying with recent companions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Steven Moffat Takes Over Doctor Who

My favorite Whovian writer will become the show runner in 2010. The official word from the BBc is here.
Preggers or too Many Chili Dawgs?

It is not much of a debate. Britney Spears is about to pop out another young ‘un into her already manic, train wreck of a life But that is not even the oddest part. This photo was taken in Costa Rica where spears and her father are vacationing with neighbor Mel Gibson. Other than the proximity of their McMansions, I cannot imagine what brings them together. One can only imagine they bonded over, cocktails or Zionist conspiracies? Surely Mad Mel is not mentoring her on the evils of alcohol consumption. If you can name a more odd trio, I would love to hear. Jessica Simpson, Poppa Joe, and Tony Romo do not count, of course. I cannot make it that easy for you. `

You know what is worse? The baby’s daddy is bound to be journalist Adam Ghalib, the guy who latched onto Spears during her breakdown in January. Well, he latched onto whatever Dr. Phil McGraw left him after he tried to cash in. Ghalib has more patience than Dr. Phil, though. He has waited until now to shop around an alleged sex tape he and Spears made while in Mexico after Spears was released from her forced hospitalization. So what we have, judging by spears’ belly, is an alleged video of the kid’s conception. I would call it tasteless, but since Spears will inevitably sell the rights to the first baby photos, ik would have to classify it as more symmetrical than anything else.

Consider how angry Kevin Federline is going to be he cannot cash in as well, and you have to admit Mel Gibson is probably the most reasonable person in the whole mess. There is a scary thought.

I understand money makes people do strange and heartless things. Believe me, I have personal experience. But I am completely surprised, even with my cynical old heart, how vultures will descend upon someone who is clearly as distressed as Spears. Her career is in shambles, no doubt. She is going to wind up broke at some point. I assume that is the rationale for leeching off her--someone has to save the money. I do love how greedy degenerates can convince themselves of their own heroism. This will end badly, you know.
The Ocean and the Bluegrass

It is time to make my usual Democrat primary predictions. Hard to believe I still have to do this half way through May, no? Today’s primaries are going to split between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama will win Oregon by eight to ten points. Kentucky will be a Clinton blowout, but not as large as west Virginia’s. I will give her a twenty point margin of victory.

Look for Clinton to take full advantage of the time zone difference between the two states. Kentucky, which is technically a commonwealth, I know, will be called hours before Oregon. Clinton will celebrate her victory there like she has won the White house already. Call it psychological warfare. If you look like a winner, people assume you are one. To counter the effect, Obama is throwing some sort of shindig in Iowa, where his assent to the throne began in earnest. Will it work for either of them? Nope. The American Idol finals are tonight. People care much more abour David Cook v. David Achuleta than Obama v. Clinton.

Tonight is going to be Clinton’s last big hurrah. She will probably win Puerto Rico next, but it will be of even less consequence than Kentucky’s too little, too late win. If she is to have any chance at all of continuing her campaign, she has to win Oregon. I doubt it will happen, but her base of older voters are astoundingly reliable and there are at least a couple polls that put her within the margin of error. But Clinton has spent most of her time in Oregon complaining about the press’ bias against her, real or imagined. If she has come across as whiny, she will have pretty much shot herself in the foot.

Clinton knows her chances in Oregon are slim to none at all. In response, shehas changed her tactic to now claiming she has won states totaling 300 electoral votes. I will grant her that one, but a not insignificant number of those states will only go blue in the fall if john McCain runs with Dick Cheney or David duke. In fairness, obama has won Southern and Heartland states that would not go for him in November, either. I Have no doubts the big blue states Clinton has carried during the primary season will happily go for obama over McCain, but Clinton does have a point. Why did they not go for Obama to begin with?
Doctor Who Music Video

It makes more sense when you know the blond is Agatha Christie. As for the giant wasp, you will just have to trust me on that one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lost Season Finale Spoilers

Whoever Lostfan108 is, he has come through again this year. He has posted spoilers regarding next week’s season finale. Assuming this is the same guy/girl, you can bank on these spoilers as accurate. Lostfan108 correctly predicted the flashforward for the last season finale. With all that in mind, if you want to remain a virgin, skip the rest of this post. Actually, you might want to skip them even if you do not want to be a virgin. The so called “Frozen Donkey Wheel” is incredibly absurd. You have been warned.

I will start with the island story. Ben signaled Richard Alpert to act as reinforcements against the mercenaries at the Orchid. They just happened to run into Sayid and kate, who will agree to help. Lapidas repairs the helicopter, so everyone eventually converges on the Orchid. Ben kills Keemy in revenge for the death of his daughter, Alex. He tells locke the island can be moved, not only temporaly, but physically as well, by a giant wheel under the island. (I told you it was absurd.) Locke and Jack have another go around, but they both agree he must concoct a story to keep the island’s secrets safe. Ben does his thing with the giant wheel. He informs Locke he will be forced teleport once the wheel is in motion. Hence, he shows up in the Tunisian desert wearing a parka a couple episodes back.

Everyone but Locke piles on the helicopter, but it was damaged in the battle with the freighter mercenaries. He cannot carry all of them, so Sawyer smooches Kate and jumps out safely. Hence, Jack tells her in the future sawyer made his choice to stay on the island.

They make it to the freighter. The people on theship have been unable to disarm the explosives. The helicopter can only take Sun and Aaron since they are both smaller than Sawyer. The freighter explodes. Michael is clearly killed. The fates of Jin and Desmond are not clear. Gy this point, the island is gone through time and space. The oceanicSix only remain. Exactly what happens to Lapidas and the helicopter is not clear. I suppose it crashes in the ocean. Sun is angry with Jack for the decision to leave Jin behind. The Oceanic Six are eventually recovered by the US Coast Guard.

The flashforwards follow the Oceanic Six and their encounters with a mysterious “he” who urges them to return to the island. The big moment is a return to the funeral scene from “Through the Looking Glass.” Bwn shows up while Jack is there. He tells Jack they have to go back and take the man in the coffin with them. It is John Locke. Somehow, he got off the island and was killed.

A big part of me hopes someone is yanking our chains. Considering the newspaper obituary said Jeremy Bentham was arguing with his teenage son just before committing suicide, I hope some is. But that may mean Locke somehow wound up with walt or some such. Not to mention a giant wheel beneath the island? Maybe the writers can pull this off, but I really hope it is a hoax.
Animal Instinct

Zoologists in China allegedly have videos of numerous animals, both wild and domesticated pets, going berserk shortly before the earthquake last week. The berserk behavior can best be described as panic rather than aggression. It is not entirely unusual for this sort od thing to happen. Historians record as far back as 473 BCE, animals abandoned the Greek city of Helice before an earthquake destroyed it entirely. Scientists have also noted the animal casualties from the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia were remarkably low.

Most scientists assure us it is merely coincidence, which is certain proof it is, in fact, not. I am sure there is a rational explanation somewhere down the line, but currently there is only a metaphysical one--animals just seem to know these things.

Everyone fears the unknown. Rationalists fear it because lack of answers makes them uncomfortable. The idea that something might be random, uncontrollable, or even *gasp* supernatural, is too scary to comprehend. The faithful fear the unknown because they are afraid of depending on the mercy of whatever might be in charge out there. It is even worse considering whatever is in charge does not appear all that merciful at times. Neither side ever notes their common ground. They miss out on the opportunity to cower under the bed together.

What can we take away from it? Not much other than if you catch your jittery cat trying to buy a first class plane ticket to a neighboring state with your credit card, you better tell him to make it two. You can never be too careful.
Catherine Bell in a Bikini

Why has she not gotten more roles outside of JAG? It is a mystery to me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Membata

Membata, the name given to the Losties' island, is Indonesian for "doubt" or "uncertainty."
Dog Days of Campaigning

Word is Barack Obama is going to declare victory on Tuesday whether he has a clean sweep or not. There is no reason for him not to. By most math calculations, he is less than one hundred delegates shy of securing the nomination. He is already sparring with John McCain over foreign policy issues while Hillary Clinton can only spar with the Oregon press establishment she claums is being mean to her. So why did Joseph Biden, who I believe endorsed Obama, say on This Week there is no reason for Clinton to end her campaign. She should go all the way to June just for the heck of it, I guess.

He further claimed that win or lose, Clinton is the most powerful woman in politics. That maybe so, but I imagine Nancy Pelosi would have something to say about it. As House Speaker, she is not only the key player in setting the legislative agenda, but as second in the presidential line of succession, which makes her closer to decorating the oval office than Clinton currently is

Nevertheless, the Democratic nomination process is essentially over. The two sides are preparing to consolidate. I imagine the staffs are going to be more amenable to that than the candidates themselves. Surely there are a lot of Clinton supporters who would be just as happy with Obama. I doubt there would be many women voters who would shun Obama just because their filly did not win.

Many polls now are showing Obama with a lead over McCain since the two began addressing each other’s policies. You can expect a huge bounce for Obama over McCain once Clinton is gone. Whether it sticks is anyone’s guess. In 1988, Michael Dukakis had an 18 point lead at the time the GOP settled on their nominee and pittered it away down to a landslide defeat in the fall. of course, he made a load of blunders Bush 41’s hatchet man, South Carolinas’s own Lee Atwater, capitalized on. Obama has had a few blunders, but he has been pretty much a Teflon candidate thus far, even over problems like Jeremiah Wright. He is not Dukakis. Obama My very well come out the gate well ahead of McCain and never break a sweat from Tuesday until November.
Torchwood Music Video

A better late than music video for "Exit Wounds."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Doctor who--"The Unicorn and the Wasp"

There are three reasons I really like Doctor Who. One, I am a cynic and the British seem to have a pathological need for stories to have at least some bit of a downer ending. Like is never wrapped up in a neat little package like American television tends to present it. Second, I am a science fiction buff. Finally, I am a history buff. Sometimes all three aspects collide in one episode to make it great. I think great might be too strong a word for “The Unicorn and the Wasp,” but I did like it.

I must confess murder mysteries are one step above romance novels and two steps about pop spirituality books in my hierarchy of literature. I have read Agatha Christie out of bibliophile obligation and recognize her talent, but I am much more partial to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his creation, old what is his name. One thing I will say for Christie is 1920’s Britain is the stereotypical setting which comes to mind when asked to picture a murder mystery. If you are going to have an old fashioned murder mystery with the Doctor, that is the place to do it and Christie is the perfect partner in crime.

At the end of “last of the Time Lords,” the Doctor was about to invite Martha to the 1920’s in order to meet Christie before his shell shocked companion opted to leave the TARDIS. A good move, honestly. Donna Noble struck me as a much better companion for this sort of adventure. I cannot see Martha or Rose interested in Christie’s novels. The story itself humorously and intentionally uses ever murder mystery cliché in the book other than having the butler do it. I enjoyed it, but I imagine Whovians with a greater fondness for murder mysteries found it and wink, wink, nudge, nudge hoot.

This being Doctor Who, there had to be a science fiction twist and this one involved the lady of the house once giving birth to a alien which eventually became a giant insect who committed all the murders in the episode because it absorbed its mother’s fondness for Agatha Christie novels. Yes, the last ten minutes explaining all this was a bit on the wacky side even for the Doctor. The whole idea of a cat burglar called the Unicorn was completely wasted and unnecessary for the rest of the story. Still, it did not ruin it for me. It might have knocked a star off my overall rating, but it was still an entertaining hour.

The BBC does period pieces fantastically well. I am beginning to think it is because of British fondness for the Empire’s glory days. The wasp CGI was unusually good for a creature used so often in the episode. The aliens tend to not be so elaborate when featured so often. I did find it bemusing Donna used a magnifying glass and sunlight to keep the critter at bay a couple times, but the writers have thus far handed certain comedic elements in every episode to Catherine Tate so that it does not feel so terribly out of place still, it would have fit better in a cartoon than here. The best part for a history buff/geek is that, like in the story, Agatha Christie really did disappear for ten days in 1926 after discovering her husband had an affair with another woman. I assume she was not really with the Doctor and Donna all that time, but you never know….

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Battlestar Galactica--"Guess What's Coming to Dinner"

We are finally speeding up the story arc this week. I have found the philosophical discussions on faith over the last couple episode fascinating, but apparently not advancing the story about the race to discover. This week, the fleet and the rebel Cylons finally make an uneasy alliance--or do they? The cliffhanger leaves

The BaseStar discovered by Starbuck and her crew emerge with the fleet. The rebel Cylons make a pact with the humans. The final Five Cylons, those who can point the way to Earth, were against the genocidal assault on Caprica to begin with. They are now hidden in the fleet. If D’Anna, the deactivated model who has seen the Final Five, can be rescued, they can be reunited and point the way to earth. In order to do this, the fleet must attack a place called the hub. The hub controls all Cylon resurrection ships. Destroying it would make them mortal.

Meanwhile, Roslin is still having prophetic dreams she cannot understand. This time Baltar is featured in them. Starbuck visits her during one of her cancer treatments and reveals the hybrid’s prophecy that “the dying leader shall know the secret of the opera house.” Roslin decides to do speak to the hybrid herself and brings Baltar along.

Athena discovers her daughter, Hera, has been making drawings of Natalie and Six. This does not make her happy. When Natalie comes aboard the Galactica as the rebel’s representative, she bends down to greet the child. Athena angrily tells Natalie they will never take her child, as though she understands the Cylons are destined to dio so. Natalie assures her there is no plan to take her child, but Athena shoots her anyway, apparently killing her.

Roslin and baltar arrive o the BaseStar while distrusting Centurions scatter about. They are not keen on allying with the humans even if it means finding Earth. Roslin wants thw hybrid reactivated. When it is, it orders the BaseStar to jump to unknown coordinates. It does, with Roslin and Baltar as hostages.

Finally, some action. It is a brillaint show, but seeing some actual peril beyond internal moral dilemmas is nice once in a while. That said, it is also interesting how the four hidden Cylons are slowly embracing their true nature. Col. Tigh instinctively knew not to fire on the BaseStar when it appeared. Tory is the only one who appears thus far to have accepted a moral ambivalence towards humans. She is the one who killed Callue. Strange, considering the Final Five were allegedly against the human genocide to begin with. I think it is too obvious for roslin to be the dying leader the hybrid prophesied. There has to bean other character who is not going to survive. Adm. Adama perhaps? Lee Adama isd an even better choice considering his growth as a character. I have suspected he is the fifth Cylon, but his destiny may lie elsewhere.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
 

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