Monday, June 30, 2008

Too Much Starbucks

How about that? The original Starbuck (Dirk Benedict) and the new Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) together in a Starbucks.
The Best Home Security

Joe Horn of Pasadena Texas observed two men (illegal aliens, but who is counting?), burglarizing a neighbor's home, and he called 911. He spent some time on the phone with the 911 operator while waiting for the police to arrive. They did not show up fast enough to suit him, so Horn grabbed his shotgun and headed out to confront the burglars in spite of warnings from the 911 operator not to take matters in his own hands He went out, told them to stop. They did not, so he shot them both in the back.

Today, a Texas grand jury cleared him of wrongdoing. Grand jury proceedings are kept secret, so we will never know precisely what went on. But judging by the article, I would guess the Castle Doctrine was not so much invoked as the idea that Horn felt more threatened after he told the two burglars to stop than he did before. So the two were not running away at the time? I have no idea how one shoots two men in the back if they are not running away unless he has sneaked up on them, which is obviously not the case.

So what was the deal? Did the grand jury believe Horn was being a good Samaritan wrongly blasted for what was actually a good deed? I have to confess I am conflicted. The facts certainly pointed to Horn being in big trouble. The use of deadly force is already frowned upon even when it is not used to put bullets into two people’s backs. At the same time—maybe it is the Southern in me—when two adults are breaking into your or your neighbors’ house, they have forfeited certain rights to safety. I have to assume burglars will think twice about breaking into an empty home because the neighbors just might be packing heat and ready to use
Don S. Davis (1942-2008)

Don S. Davis, who played Gen. George Hammond for seven years on Stargate SG-1 among many other authority figure types in tons of television shows and movies, dierd yesterday. Playing such roles came naturally to Davis. Before becoming an actor, he served a long time in the united states army.

Aside from Stargate: SG-1, fans remember Davis fondly from Twin Peeks and from playing Dana Scully's father on The X-Files. I recall, too, his brief role as Arnold Vinick's primary opponent in the penultimate season of The west Wing. Davis' revised his role as Hammond in the upcoming Stargate: Continuum DVD. I presume it will now be dedicated to him.

Godspeed, Mr. Davis.
Crazy Caan Job

I was hoping someone was going to make a compilation of Dalek Caan's rantings from "The stolen Earth." I have not been disappointed.

You have to feel sorry for old Caan. he traveled back in time in order to change the "locked" past of the Time War and rescue his creator, Davros. The effort drove him absolutely insane, but davros seems to have kept him around for whatever reason. Amusement, maybe. certainly not gratitude.

these are the two big scenes which are completely focused on Caan's loony babbling and giggling. the second part is the more pivotal. he predicts everlasting death for the most faithful companion. One has to figure that is rose. she was predicted to die in battle by the Demon in "The Satan Pit." we have assumed it was referring to her declaration of death on our Earth while she became stranded on the Alternate Earth. but what if that is not it? the demon said she would die soon, but what is the definition of soon to a creature who has existed before time itself?

But back on point, Caan here continued to squirm, chatter away, and cackle like a loony toon even when when other characters were talking in the foreground. I am not sure if RTD was trying to be creepy or offering comic relief, but Caan reminded me of the singing bush in The Three Amigos who kept singing show tunes no matter what was going on around him.
Leah Remini

Because knowing a woman that attractive is a kooky Scientologist is an apt reminder, like Monday morning, just how unfair life can be. since it is Monday, let us make it a twofer.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New Battlestar Galactica Movie Greenlit

Grace Park, who plays Athena, the Cylon formerly known as Boomer, said in a Los Angeles times interview the Battlestar Galactica television movie has been greenlit. Assuming the SAG does not strike after itscontract expires tomorrow, the movie will go before the cameras in August. The movie will feature events which take place before the midseason finale “Revelations” in which the humans and Cylons may or may not have found Earth. Up to three additional movies may be in the works considering how well this one does ratings and presumably DVD sales.

This is good news. I do love BSG and I thought the first movie, Razor, was a splendid way to fill in some story gaps. I am not usually big on “stories we forgot to tell you the first time around” because I have exp experienced so many lackluster ones from my days collecting comic books. Television has not been much better, as I recall loving Babylon 5 but thinking Thirdspace, one of the first TNT movies when the show went from first run syndication to cable. To be fair, In the Beginning was great. So was Razor and I have faith in Ron Moore and the gang.

One other bit that raised a Spock-like eyebrow was the quote from Park saying she had read the script for the episode that explains everything, but had to have Ron Moore sit down and explain it all to her. I hope that means the ultimate ending is complex and satisfying rather than such a loopy mess even the actors do not get it. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the former.
Almost at "Journey's End"

There is no sense in straying too far from Doctor Who just yet. I am still absorbing last night’s episode particularly the cliffhanger. There has to be some twist to it. The doctor is certainly not regenerating into another version. David Tennant has not only signed up for four specials next year, but has been offered the astronomical by BBC standards sum of £ 1.3 million to stay for the fifth season. There are already plenty of photos lurking about the internet of Cybermen in Victorian times from the Christmas special with tenant to boot. I am just hoping the resolution is not a big cop out.

But the news has not stopped fans from speculating who might be the Eleventh Doctor, whenever he shows up. James Nesbitt has been voted the actor fans would most like to see take over from David Tennant.`Out of 3,500 Doctor Who viewers surveyed on behalf of the Doctor Who Exhibition at Earls Court, 714 fans want to see the Cold Feet star as the next incarnation of the Time Lord.`Second favorite was Shaun Of The Dead star Simon Pegg with 18 per cent of the vote.

What happene3d to Robert Carlyle? Was he not the bookies’ favorite? Pegg is starring as scotty in J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot. Paramount is hoping that becomes a new franchise. If it does, he may be too busy. He may think he is already to big for the role regardless, but Tennant was in a Harry Potter movie, so perhaps not. Nesbitt has already worked with new showrunner Steven Moffat on Jekyll, so that is probably where he gets a leg up on the competition. I guess fans just assume it is going to be him. I have been meaning to track down Jekyll to scope out Nesbitt. I like Moffat’s writing and costar Michelle Ryan was the only redeeming aspect of the recent Bionic woman revival.

Finally, I had expressed some skepticism about the make up job to be done on Davros. My fears were for naught. Julian Bleach was terrifying as the creator of the Daleks. It would have been pretty cool to see Sir Ben Kingsly in the role, though, no?
You would think an evil genius master of genetic manipulation could manage a wrinkle cream that would fix all that. I mean, he would never make the cover of GQ, but seriously. One has to make some effort here.
Doctor Who Music Video

Here is my music video for "The Stolen Earth," hot off the presses. Like last week's episode, I thought this one needed a somber tone. This song gets me every time I hear it. I bet it does the same for you, too.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Doctor Who--"The Stolen Earth"

It seems like I whine every single time I watch the first part of a two part episode because I always find a lot of set up without enough pay off to get me excited about seeing the conclusion. I think “army of ghosts” way back in the second season was the last time that happened, mainly because I did not have a hunch there was going to be some big Star Trekesque reset button returning everything back to normal for the conclusion. I will confess there will probably be one here, but I am not fretting about that just yet. This was one of the most thrilling episodes of the season.

The title was kept secret in order to protect the overall theme of the season. Earth is eventually transported along with 26 other planets, several mentioned along the way this season, to a distant region of space. Earth is literally transported out from under the TARDIS, leaving the doctor to seek help from the mysterious Shadow Proclamation we have heard so much about, but have never seen up until now.

Meanwhile, the earth falls under a massive attack by the newly created Dalek race. Rose shows up to help and discovers Donna Noble’s family. A Dalek land invasion is busy rounding up Londoners, but with Rose’s help, they escape. UNIT has its hands full as the Daleks destroy the Valiant and level New York. Torchwood cannot do much, either until former Prime Minister Harriet Jones finds a way to assemble all the doctor’s past companions in an effort to contact him. They are oblivious to Rose’s presence on earth.

The Doctor follows some obscure, clunky clues (The missing bees were aliens returning home to avoid being taken with Earth) to make it to the Medusa Cascade. There, he is at a loss as to what to do next when he gets his companions’ call. He follows the signal to the missing earth. Rose was able to listen in, but not communicate with the rest. It was a sad moment as she looked so sad at being left out and hurt when she realized she had been quickly replaced by Martha Jones.

The Daleks trace the communication and locate the signals on Earth. Soldiers are dispatched to Harriett Jones’ hideaway, the Torchwood Hub, and Sarah Jane Smith’s home. Davros finally reveals himself to the Doctor. He was saved from the Time War by Dalek Caan. While the time War was supposedly locked in time, Caan made it at the cost of his sanity. Thecritter is a even more blubbering mess than most actual Daleks. Davros reveals he has recreated the dalek race with some of his own genetic material to fulfill his ultimate plan.

The Doctor makes it to Earth. The London streets are in shambles, but in the distance, he finally sees rose. They run towards one another happily, but their reunion is cut short when a Dalek shots him. Captain jack appears and destroys it. He, Rose, and Donna help the doctor back into the TARDIs where he apparently begins to regenerate. Thus with have a fourfold cliffhanger with Harriet Jones captured or killed, Sarah Jane about to be killed, and Gwen and Ianto under attack at the Torchwood Hub.

They packed in an awful lot here. The Doctor’s severed hand was shown subtly bubbling in an early scene. It has only done so when another Time Lord has been present. Perhaps donna does have something to do with it. This was the first time I got a good look at her ring. It could very well be the Master’s ring some anonymous woman picked up in “The Last of the Time Lords.” I did note someone from the Shadow Proclamation told her there was still something on her back.

Caan predicted the most loyal companion was going to der. Most everyone is expecting donna to kick the bucket, but “most loyal” sounds more likely Rose. Then again, jack has been waiting for the doctor to return since 1899. That is some loyalty, too. It would be a real cop out, though, considering his immortality would make his death anticlimactic.

I had fears the make up job and davros would not be all that great, but I was happy with the result. He was every bit as scary as I remember him from when I was a little tyke way too young to be watching something like Davros do his thing. But even he could not top Caan. His crazy ramblings and jittery appearance gave me the heebie jeebies. I find squids creepy to begin with, anyway.

I am looking forward to the conclusion. I seriously doubt the regeneration is legitimate, but would that not be a real kick in the butt if a new actor shows up as the eleventh Doctor next week? It would not preclude David Tennant from starring in the four specials next year. No one has said they were not untold tales of the past. In fact, we only know for certain the Cybermen appear in the Christmas Special. Still, I cannot imagine RTD could keep a new Doctor under wraps. There was a special emphasis on Ten’s right hand, the regenerated one to replacethe severed one. The severed hand must play into the conclusion. Two Tens, perhaps?

Rating: ***** (out of 5)
Tricia Helfer and Michael Shanks on Burn Notice

Burn Notice was about the only new show I liked last season. With Bruce Campbell already a regular, the sophomore season is shaping up to be geek nirvana.
Burn Notice returns July 10th at 10 PM EST.
Caturday

The Daleks return in tonight's Doctor Who episode, "The Stolen Earth." The pepper pots still use traditional flying saucers, so here is a little homage to that custom. the oldies are goodies--except when a flying saucer appeared in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I had to groan at that one just as loudly as the CGI gophers and nuked refrigerator.

I shall review "The Stolen Earth" shortly after it airs in the United Kingdom.
Scarlett Johansson Video

Barack Obama may have thrown the lovely and talented Scarlett Johansson under the bus earlier this week, but I do not. I have just finished making this slide show featuring some of her best photos. the slide show is set to "I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden.

Is that the only good song they have made since 1997? I liked their first CD way back when. i had to get it twice, in fact. Someone stole eight CD out of my dorm room my Senior year of college because at least one of my suite mates never bothered to lock the main door behind him. then again, I did not lock my room door, so there you go. at least i am not still bitter.

Oh, yeah...here is the slide show. Enjoy. Even the the thieving jackass who took my Savage Garden CD. Paul Simon's Graceland, too.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hollywood Hayride

None of these stories merits its own post. Honestly, none of them merit a mass post, either, but I am currently bored and I have touched on these topics before, so here we go.

I go back and forth from ragging on paris Hilton for not keeping her prison promise to help the less fortunate to taking note when she actually does lift a finger or two. Hilton has made an undisclosed but said to be a “generous donation” towards building a new wing of the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. The wing will be called the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases. The Center will open sometime in 2010. I give some kudos for that.

She is doing a much better job for children than greedy harpy Denise Richards. You may recall Richards is currently in a dispute with ex husband Charlie Sheen over an increase in child support even though she has received nearly $ 2 million in child support and alimony since the couple’s split, not to mention a $ 26 million stake in the syndication package for Sheen’s Two and a Half Men. Like in way too many divorce cases, she is using the children as a weapon. It has landed the kids in therapy which she would also really like Sheen to pay for. Yikes. A hooker obsessed dad and a fruitcake, money grubbing mom. Those poor kids never had a chance.

Speaking of legal battles, Verne Troyer, best know as Mini Me, is suing TMZ.com for posting a sex tape between featuring him and his girlfriend. I find this ironic since the preview photos I unfortunately saw were enough to cause provable and permanent emotional harm. It was like watching Yoda play find the chakra with Xena, Warrior Princess. Should I sue Troyer or TMZ? Heck, I will make it a twofer. It is the American way.

Brace yourself for another Hollywood strike. The two actors unions, SAG and AFTRA, have bitter differences between themselves, much less with the studios. Negotiations have turned into essentially a three sided battle. With the current contract expiring June 30th, actors are threatening to strike. Katherine Heigl notwithstanding, there is an expectation writers will show the loyalty actors showed them during a possible work stoppage. George Clooney has taken it upon himself to call for unity between the two acting unions. There are not paying him anymore attention in Hollywood than they are in Darfur. They all thought Leatherheads sucked, to boot.
Woman Sells House, Herself, on Craigslist

Well, that is one way to sweeten the deal in today's declining real estate market. or is it? Deven Trabosh, the woman selling it all, is a 42 year old single mother who has been single for eight years now. Evidently, she cannot give away the house or herself. why not make it twice as hard?
After a year of trying to sell her four-bedroom home and eight years of singledom, Deven Trabosh is offering her South Florida home and a shot at marrying her on the Internet.

"I figured let's combine the ad because I'm looking for love and I'm looking to sell the house," said Trabosh, a Barbie-esque blonde who teeters around the nearly 2,000 square-foot house in patent leather heels.

"Marry a Princess Lost in America," Trabosh wrote in the ads she posted on eBay and Craigslist last week. She describes a life of romance and travel and a home decorated with vaulted ceilings, upgraded tile and a soaking tub in a gated community with a pool and tennis courts.

Trabosh, a licensed real estate agent who hasn't practiced in years, knew she would struggle to sell the home in the troubled real estate market, but insists her fairytale ad isn't just a sales gimmick.

"I'm struggling...I don't want to lose my house and I want to find somebody," said Trabosh, who changed her name in the ad to Traboscia to keep people from finding her in the phone book. "So I came up with this dream plan because I've always dreamt about being a fairytale princess."
She is not a bad looking woman for her age/mileage , but as one who spent some time in real estate, I can tell you it is not important what the photo is showing you, but what the photo is trying to hide.
Fred & Ethel Meet in Unity

Does anyone find this photo heartwarming rather than stomach churning? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn priced to move that would be just perfect for you. Hillary Clinton may have gotten a warm welcome both when she returned to the Senate earlier this week and when she hold a joint affair with Barack Obama today in Unity, but those were both openly shallow affairs even for politicians. Not that it matters. Obama does not need Clinton as much as once thought.

As for Clinton? She is definitely looking towards 2012. I do not know if she is counting on John McCain to win or Obama’s inexperience to doom his first term so babdly she will pull a Pat Buchanan and run against the party’s sitting president, but there is no way she has given up designs on the White House. She looked like she was in physical pain proclaiming support for Obama.

They had to make nice, of course. If for no other reason, Clinton wants Obama to pay off her campaign debt. But there is clearly a lack of enthusiasm as evidencedby Bill Clinton, who does not have to make nice. His statement earlier this week that he would do whatever Obama asked him to do revealed one that he has no plans to enthusiastically push for obama and two, he does not expect Obama to ask him to. Bill wants nothing to come back and bite him when he rallies support for Hillary’s run into 2012.

I think that is optimistic anyway. Hillary Clinton may take a leadership role in the Senate, though one wonders how she would work as say, Majority Leader, with President Obama. But I doubt she can make the kind of comeback necessary to win the nomination in 2012. That is too much time and too many chances for new stars to emerge. Today’sdog and pony showwas pretty clear evidence the Clinton Era is over.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Evolving Standards

Joining in the majority to affirm Second amendment rights earlier today does not make for Anthony Kennedy declaring the death penalty for child rape is unconstitutional yesterday. there is some buzz among politicians, mostly posturing, that they will ignore the decision. Louisiana Gov., Bobby Jindal perfectly timed signing a chemical castration bill into law for repeat sex offenders. Neither will mean much in the long run.

I am astrict constructionist. the idea of evolving standards is an anathema to the rule of law. but this goes well beyond such legalities. The decision establishes child rape is not as heinous a crime as murder. I beg to differ. Do you think Kennedy read his own opinion? Check out this gem from it:
L. H. [the 8-year-old rape victim] was transported to the Children’s Hospital. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified that L. H.’s injuries were the most severe he had seen from a sexual assault in his four years of practice. A laceration to the left wall of the vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus. The injuries required emergency surgery.
If there was ever a logical reason to toss out evolving standards and start remembering what the social contract is all about, this is it--the very definition of heinous crime.
Donna's Left Turn Bugs Fans

It has been enough of a debate, I have to mention it here. Doctor Who fans, who spend much of the season searching for clues to the overall theme that will be revealed near the finale, have caught on to something dropped way back in “The Fires of Pompeii” as being resolved in last week’s episode, “Turn Left.” Specifically, the Auger of Pompeii, Lucius, told Donna that although she called herself Noble, there was something on her back. Fans are divided as to whether he was foretelling the future and he was revealing the beetle that was going to attach itself to her in “Turn Left.” I disagree on both counts.

First, was he foretelling the future? I do not believe so. The scene in question is the Doctor and Donna concealing their identities, but Lucius rooting them out anyway. He called the Doctor “Man from Gallifrey” and said the above to donna. He then revealed the future by saying, “She is returning,” for the added shock value. Donna immediately looked at her back in a panic after he spoke to her. She thought he was speaking in current terms and so do I. There is something about Donna.

Which leads to the second part, was Lucius referring to the beetle? I cannot believe that he was. The beetle attached itself to her back during “Turn Left,” some time well after “The Fires of Pompeii.” She was able to resist the beetle and eventually kill it. That she could do this shocked the fortune teller who was aiding the parasitic bug. She remarked there was something unusual about Donna that kept the beetle from successfully bonding. That was something on her back (figuratively?) to begin with. She had it in Pompeii and Lucius knew it.

Even the Doctor remarked it was odd the beetle built an entire alternate universe around Donna since it usually only has a local effect. More evidence there is something about Donna apart from the beetle. It helped her fight the critter off.

I think the beetle trying to attach itself to Donna was a red herring for what is really up with Donna. I have no idea what that is just yet, but we are supposed to think the issue has been resolved so the truth will be a surprise. I suspect Donna is going to serve as a deus ex machina to resolve the Dalek invasion of Earth. Since the invasion is being set up as a hopelessly overwhelming situation, I cannot see how it can end any other way and obviously, something happens to Donna since river Song had not met her in the future. Ijust hope they do not make her the Red Dalek.
Supreme Court Upholds Gun Rights

Upholding a Constitutional amendment? It is a sign of the times I think that is a novel event. (Link)
Obama Denies Scarlett Johansson

If you are still having a difficult time deciding whether Barack Obama has the good judgment to become president, look no further. I can assure you he does not. I can understand throwing Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and Jim Johnson under the bus. That is just good old fashioned political butt covering. But denying Scarlet Johanssen? That is unfathomable.

You may recall thelovely Johanssen gushed how Obama had returned her personal e-mails. note that is e-mails, as in more than one. does Obama does not remember it quite that way:
"She sent one email to Reggie, who forwarded it to me," Obama said, referring to his 26-year-old personal assistant, Reggie Love. "I write saying, 'thank you Scarlett for doing what you do,' and suddenly we have this email relationship."
Dude, never deny you are pen pals with scarlett Johanssen. Heck, you do not even deny you are having an affair with Scarlett Johanssen if that particular rumor happens to start. It would be worth losing the White house just for theadded rep. Look what that sort of thing has done for Bill Clinton.

Seriously, though. why would you deny having any sort of friendship with Johanssen? I cannot imagine who would react negatively to the revelation other than Michelle Obama and I have long since lost any interest in how shefeels about anything. You want the youth vote, Obama? Flaunt your connections with the hot, young starlets.

I would.
Doctor Who: "The Stolen Earth" Preview Clip

The BBC do know how to tighten the screws, do they not? Is it Saturday yet?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The New Gort

I do not like the idea of remaking The Day the Earth Stood Still. I do not like the idea of changing the theme from man's warlike nature to a cautionary tale about global warming. I certainly do not like the idea of Keanu Reeves playing the key role of Klaatu. But I do like the updated look for the sentry robot, Gort. He looks very Cylon.

"I am Klaatu and this is my most excellent robot, Gort."

Yeah, Keanu is going to make a bad idea even worse.
Don't Like Obama or McCain?

There is hope:
SCOTUS Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape

The Supreme court has ruled is not a heinous enough crime to merit the death penalty. Are you not ecstatic they cleared that dispute up for us?

It is not a terribly surprising decision, which is further proof of why people hate lawyers. The SCOTUAS has been limiting the death penalty for decades now. Currently, only premeditated murder and treason qualify. But you still have to pause with this one and take a few moments to be befuddled.

First, from a strict constructionist standpoint, I am dismayed, but not surprised to learn Anthony Kennedy has risen up to take Sandra Day O’Connor’s place as the “conscience” of the SCOTUS. More appropriately, that means the one most likely to abandon the letter of the law for social liberalism. I knew even after John Roberts and Samuel Alito were added to the Court, Kennedy would step up to keep the working liberal majority going.

Second, I am having a difficult time deciding how premeditated murder could ne heinous enough to merit the death penalty but child rape is not. Both take forethought and intent. Can you honestly say shooting someone for stealing your drugs is a worse crime than, like the defendant in this case, raping your eight year old stepdaughter? I cannot.

I am a death penalty supporter. I do not think it is barbaric to execute certain criminals who violate the rules of society, I do not think death penalty opponents are especially enlightened, nor do I believe countries that have banned the death penalty altogether are more civilized. While those viewpoints are slowly becoming unpopular in the United states, the majority still support the death penalty, certainly enough so for this decision to have a lingering effect on the presidential election. The most important job a president has is appointing SCOTUs justices. Look for activist courts to become a big issue in the election with this decision at the forefront of why Obama should not be given the power to appoint liberal justices.
Neve Campbell in Burn Up Miniseries

One of our personal favorites hereat the eye is Neve Campbell. She has recently filmed a miniseries called Burn Up which will air on sky in Canada and the BBC in the United Kingdom, but there have been no takers in the United States. the miniseries features the conflict between oil executives, politicians, and an environmental activist during events surrounding a climate change conference. one assumes in our country's current political climate, networks are jittery about tackling the subject matter.

I am no global warming alarmist and I am not too fond of some of the kookier ideas GWA put forth, such as Ted turner's idea that we will all have to resort to cannibalism in a few decades. he is probably already sizing up Jane Fonda for cold cuts. But i am happy to see campbell making the shift from teenie bopper actress to meatier roles even if I am not into her cause.

I would like for the miniseries to revive her career as a serious actress. I may even take one for the team and seek Burn Up out on DVD or if a network decides to pick it up. you would think one of the headier cable channels like HBO or even Lifetime would eventually air it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Sound of Music

For those who believe televisions on DVD is the best of all possible worlds, here is the monkey wrench to that theory. Many season sets are being issued without the original music intact because rights issues are often cost prohibitive. Your guess is as good as mine whether studios are using the same criteria that $ 00.04 a set royalties is too expensive to pay writers or whether there is merit to refusing to pay for the music.

Think about what is being lost. WKRP in Cincinnati, a show about a rock station, used to feature the popular music of the day. On DVD sets, the music has been replaced by generic songs to avoid rights entanglements. But get this—in syndication, the original songs are there. So if you watch the show for free, you get it as it originally aired. But shell out bucks for a season set, you get a generic knock off.

I have yet to see any explanation why WKRP has to forgo its music when Miami Vice, a show that relied heavily on the big hits of the day, features all the original songs on its DVD sets. Why did the studio think it was worthwhile to cough up cash for the Vice soundtrack but not WKRP? Who knows, but plenty of other shows have been affected as well. Married…with Children is missing its Frank Sinatra sung theme song and Tour of Duty has replaced “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones.

It is not just theme songs or mood music, either. One of my favorite episodes of Quantum Leap is the second season finale, “MIA.” Sam leaps into a San Diego cop in 1968. Al convinces him he is there to keep a woman from cheating on her husband rather than what he is actually there to do. The woman is Al’s first wife, who left him because she feared he was dead while he went MIA in Vietnam. The final sce3ne is hologram Al dancing with his wife in 1968 to Ray Charles’ ‘Georgia on My Mind.” It is a bittersweet moment—at least in syndication. On DVD, the song is gone. The moment just is not the same.

As I hinted above, I am skeptical including the music is all that cost prohibitive. But even if it is, I would wonder if songwriters and musicians would not want to give a little on the money in exchange for promotion. With so many people waiting to buy season sets to watch their favorite shows, the DVD sets may be a lot of fans only exposure to the songs. I had never heard of the Submarines before hearing “Brighter Discontent” on an episode of Nip/Tuck. I might still be unaware of them if I had not seen the show. I cannot bealone in that, either. So what is the real deal with the rights dispute?

ADDED: here is a DVD rip of the Quantum Leap scene from "MIA" I mentioned from "MIA." It is touching, but I just do not think it works as well without "Georgia on My Mind."
Waltzing Matilda

Blood may be thicker than water, but when it comes to a multimillion dollar inheritance, all bets are off. Heath Ledger's family promised shortly after he died they would see that his two year olddaughter with actress Michelle Williams would be taken care of in spite of the fact she was born after the will was written. Specifically:
“Matilda is our absolute priority and Michelle is an integral part of our family,” Heath’s father Kim Ledger says in a statement. “They will be taken care of and that’s how Heath would want it to be.”

Ledger’s rep quickly squashed any speculation that Williams and 2-year-old Matilda would not be provided for. “The story is getting taken out of context and media is speculating that this means Matilda and Michelle will not be taken care of. I want to make it very clear nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Here we are in June and Williams' daughter has not seen a penny of her inheritance. The interesting part is the executor of Ledger's will, his father Kim, hasa history of mishandling wills, so much so that Heath's uncles are speaking out against their brother's incompetence and/or greed.
Hayden Penettierre On Heroes

Hayden Penettierre has gone brunette for the currently filming third season of heroes I cannot say much about it. I still have not watched a single episode beyond the pilot even though I have been assured it would be right up my alley. From what I have heard, the first season mirrored Alan Moore's Watchmen miniseries of 1986 while the second season took a lot of elements from the legacy virus storyline that ran through the various X-Men titles back in the early '90's. I am not sure i could get passed the similarities when i probably liked it better the first time around.

As for Penettierre herself, I find her extreme animal rights activism annoying, particularly considering she has worn leather in public quite a few times in recent days. That whole "Save theCheerleader, Save theworld" promotion did not make me want to watch her or the show, either. but it does appear she no longer needs saving. She appears to be taking matters into her own hands this upcoming season:I guess Sir Mix-a-Lot would go for the butt and 50 Cent would go for the gun.
Paris Hilton Photo Slide Show

I felt so dirty making a music video featuring half naked photos of Paris Hilton. but that did not stop me. the video is set to "Material Girl" by Madonna. It sounded like a much more clever and original idea at four AM yesterday morning. enjoy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama Sets the Tone

Much quicker than I thought he would, too:
“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?'” --Sen. Barack Obama, on the McCain campaign.
You do not want higher income taxes? You do not want an increase in the Social Security Tax? you do not want to pay for your neighbor's medical insurance out of your own pocket? You do not support a moratorium on new oil drilling while gas flirts with $ 5 a gallon?

Do you think a presidential candidate ought to have some prior executive experience or at the very least more than a year of federal experience before deciding to run for president?

Then you are a racist. You have been duly notified.
Evangeline Lilly to Wed

There goes yet another hot woman taken off the market.

Evangeline Lilly and Dominic Monaghan started seeing each other pretty early on during lost's run although we Lilly Lusters were in denial the entire time. they split late last year, but have apparently patched things up. Well, Monaghan proposed, which probably means begged. who can blame him?

The two have not decided whether to wed in 2009 or 2010. with a shaky commitment like that, who knows? One of us may still have a chance with. She is engaged to a Hobbit, after all.

Seriously, best wishes to both. No, really.
Doctor Who: Photos from "The Stolen Earth"

Some very interesting and very spoilery photos have emerged from next week’s Doctor Who episode, “The Stolen Earth.” From the gist of it, it would appear the Earth goes missing the same way the Adipose nursery, the stone creatures’ home world, and the Sontaran breeding planet have. Unfortunately, the earth appears to have gone to a place where Davros and the Daleks are on the warpath.
The Doctor and Donna address a United nations like council called the Shadow Proclamation to discover what has become of Earth and the other missing planets. The Proclamation uses Judoon foot soldiers to enforce intergalactic law with an iron fist.Meanwhile, the earth is stuck defending itself without help from the Doctor. Among earth’s champions is Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Martha Jones, UNIT, and what is left of Torchwood. It looks like the Daleks have taken the battle directly to the Torchwood Hub.
What is sexier than a good looking woman with a big gun? one with a welsh accent, too. Maybe it is just me who thinks that way. Looks like a big show, though, no?
George Carlin (1937-2008)

The Grim Reaper has been pretty brutal so far this year, has he not? The year is only half over, too. George Carlin, the irreverent, counter culture stand up comedian, died of heart failure Sunday in Santa Monica. I do not know why I am surprised to hear of his death or why I am surprised he was so old, but I am. It is getting tough to realize baby boomers and their heroes who prized youth so much are now passing on to the great beyond with alarmingly regularity. Then again, I am having a tough time embracing the fact I am almost 32 myself.

Carlin is probably most famous for his Seven Words You Can Never Use on Television. I will not list them here for you, but as assign of the times, I note five of them have been uttered on network television without any lingering problems. Whether that is a mark of how far have come or how far we have fallen is up to you to decide. By the time I heard this routine in the ‘80’s, it did not seem all that radical to me. The guy hosted a PBS children’s show at the time. How wild could he be?

Plenty wild as it turned out when I began watching his HBO specials and seeing him pop up in movies like Kevin Smith’s Dogma. I appreciated his warped viewpoint on the absurdities of everyday life even when I did not agree with him, which was often. Carlin liked to unmercifully critique conservatives, Christians, and pretty much anyone who decided to force their morality on anyone else. I cannot say he ever offended, though. There was always enough kernel of truth in what he said I just could not do so.

I very much appreciate those who see something ring with the world and call attention to it without being preachy. I wish I had a better talent at it. I have even quoted his metaphor that the world is a freak show and Americans have a front row seat several times here on my blog. I will never master observational comedy like him, nor will I ever touch him in wordplay.

Carlin performed in las Vegas just last weekend and was recently the recipient of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor. He was to get the award at a Kennedy Center ceremony in November. I imagine he would be the first to joke he would rather have fallen over dead than be honored in s ucha mainstream venue. But who knows? Maybe he mellowed out in his final years enough. Not likely, mind you.

I understand Carlin had a bitter resentment towards religion in general and Christianity in particular, so wishing him Godspeed as I usually do in these obituaries would be an insult. Wherever he wound up, I hope he is satisfied.
Gillian Anderson Slideshow

Here is a video I made earlier today featuring the lovely and talented Gillian Anderson. Have I mentioned lately how much I miss the X-Files or how much I am anticipating the new movie due out next month? consider yourself duly notified of both. Regardless, the video is set to "Walking After You" by the Foo Fighters. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Entertainment Weekly's New Classic Movies

Entertainment Weekly has published its Top 1,000 lists, which means the top 100 best of the last 25 years in ten different categories. I have scanned the ones I would be most interested in. Such lists are made to court controversy and start bar fights while not being taken all that seriously. They are subjective lists, after all.

I find myself without much argument over the New television classics, probably because I like what I like on television and pay little attention to anything else. I will just take their word certain shows are better than others. I am curious why Cheers and Frasier are not ranked higher. I personally enjoyed them much more than Serinfeld or Friends. I thought critics were wild about Monk, too. I figured that would be ranked higher. But these are small gripes.

I have much bigger issues with the New classic Movies list. I am a movie buff. I have wound up seeing most every modest to big hit and anything critics raved about over the period of time the list has covered. Granted, I have not watched many “chick flicks” unless I was dragged to see it by a girl I was then interested in and probably saw little merit in it. Also, some of the film listed I saw at a way too young age to probably appreciate like I should have. But I think I can still come up with a better top ten than EW did.
Here is what they have:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)—Decent choice.

2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)—its cheating to list a trilogy, but okay.

3. Titanic (1997)—I still do not see what is so great about it.

4. Blue Velvet (1986)—No.t even the best David Lynch film of the last 25 years.

5. Toy Story (1995)—Ditto.

6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)—Just for the opening sequence?

7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)—Have not seen it. Would rather be disemboweled..

8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)—Should be ranked higher.

9. Die Hard (1988)—Fun? Yes. Great? No.

10. Moulin Rouge (2001)—Who made this list? Kelly Ripa?

I am not
even certain I can determine what criteria EW uses to classify a movie as great. The top ten list is, presumably, trying to be a good mix of comedy, drama, etc, but I think it failed even with that. A classic movie is an great film that has carved a place for itself in our culture because it is well made and resonates with people across the board. How many people have even heard of Blue Velvet without thinking of the old song first? I am not buying it.
Here is my go at it:
1. The Silence of the Lambs--This disturbing film swept the big categories at the 1992 Oscars and deservedly so. It is creepy, horrifying, and brilliant all at the same time. The sequels have never been able to capture the feel of the original. That is proof of just how good it is

2. Schindler’s List--I cannot believe EW did not rank it in the top ten at all. I had the most moving experience I have ever had in a theater with this one. You know how when a movie ends and the lights come up, people start filing out chattering to themselves about what they just saw? Not with Schindler’s List. Everyone sat in their seats silently for a long moment as the credits rolled, stunned by what they hadjust seen. Hardly anyone spoke a word as they slinked out later. I still cannot see Ralph Fiennes as anything other than an evil character to this day.

3. Pulp Fiction--I could not list this one as number one, but I debated it. The film is good just for its manic style and delivery which defined cool. Quentin Tarantino has not been able to match it yet.

4. Forest Gump--I am no where near old enough to be a baby boomer, so the time period chronicled has nothing more than a history buff’s curiosity for me. Yet, I was moved in a bittersweet way like so many other people were. Plus, it established CGI as a movie staple, for better or for worse.

5. Gladiator--I almost put Braveheart here instead, but Gladiator set the tone for historical epics of the recent era better than did Braveheart. No other epic since then has matched it, although I do fancy 300 quite well.

6. As Good as It Gets--More or less a chick flick, but I really liked it. It was much better done and had a wider appeal than Hannah and Her sisters.

7. The Shawshank Redemption--Another odd omission. I really love this movie. Morgan Freeman is one of the finest actorsof our time.

8. A Few Good Men--the best legal drama of the last quarter century. Jack Nicholson, a counter culture hero, plays a straightlaced, by the book, sadistic Marine colonel—and we believe it! What happened to Tom Cruise? Every now and then he could turn in a brilliant performance. He even shines bright in this star studded cast.

9. Unforgiven--Certainly clint Eastwood’s best film. It is probably the best Western of all time.

10. Saving Private Ryan--I know war veterans who had to leave the theater after the first sequence because it brought back memories of combat. I cannot relate, but I do not blame them. There was so much high emotion in this film, I had to literally avoid any stimulation for hours afterwards just to absorb it all.
I have to admit, it was tough to come up with this list. Maybe I should give EW some credit. I note two things. One, it is heavily represented by the ‘90’s. I am not sure why it turned out that way. Second, 1994was a banner year for films. Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, and Forrest Gump were released that year. They all made my top ten.

A few honorable mentions:
Goodfellas
Natural Born Killers (1994 again.)
Driving Miss Daisy
Rain Man
Full Metal Jacket
Platoon
Glory
Se7en
The Matrix
Tombstone
Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
Born on the Fourth of July
Raising Arizona (It feels odd to not have a Coen Bros. film in the top ten…)
LA Confidential
Oh, and if anyone is curious, I think Lost Highway is a better David Lynch film than Blue Velvet.. The Elephant Man is still his best, but that misses the cutr off point for this list by three years.
Doctor Who Finale Rumors

Yes, this is the third Doctor Who related post in a row, but there is still a lot to talk about in consideration of the upcoming two final episodes of the fourth season. Some rumors have emerged about how the running threads throughout the season are going to be tied up.

Donna is obviously going to be the key element. Recall in “The Fires of Pompeii" the soothsayer said Donna had something on her back. The beetle on her back in “Turn Left” was a misdirection. There is still something else about her. She would not have had it on her back when she visited Pompeii, although I assume the audience is supposed to consider it a closed matter.

It is obvious she is going to be the key element in defeating Davros and the daleks, presumably dying in the process. But what she will actually do is a mystery. The fortune teller hinted that she was stronger than a human should be. Couple that with the rumor the Doctor’s severed hand returns in the finale and starts bubbling, which indicates time travel shenanigans. Was it, in fact, Donna who picked up the master’s ring at his funeral pyre? If so, what abilities has it given her?

Another thread that has seemed an odd inclusion thus far has been the missing bees. Allegedly, Davros has been using genetic material from bees to recreate the Dalek race. It actually makes sense. The Dalek Emperor used human genrtic material to create his army, but they wound up self-loathing and psychotic. Bees have a hive mentality. They would make perfect soldiers for a mass invasion of Earth.

Then again, there is the long held rumor that Harriet Jones was on board the Valiant last season and remembers the “lost year.” She blames the Doctor for her lost Prime Minister position, so the story goes she has become the Red Dalek. Perhaps she did not do so willingly because I find it difficult to see the revenge motive being strong enough to lose one’s humanity completely. Why would the Daleks follow her to begin with? Bees need a queen, I guess. I have to assume if the rumor pans out, there will be a good explanation for it all.

Supposedly the Daleks kill the Torchwood pterodactyl, too. Poor little guy. Are you not curious why mickey stays behind on our earth to join Torchwood, but Rose does not want to rejoin the Doctor? Does something happen to her in the finale?

Speculation is always floating around about who will replace david Tennant as the Doctor. We have not yet even learned if Teenant is even leaving before the fith season, but that has not stopped bookies William Hill from taking bets on the likely replacement. So far the results look like this:

* 2/1 Robert Carlyle (I am curious why.)
* 4/1 Jason Statham
* 9/2 Alan Davies
* 6/1 James Nesbitt (Has worked with Steven Moffat on Jekyll.)
* 7/1 John Simm (Already played the master, so no.)
* 10/1 Julian Walsh
* 12/1 Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter? Come on.)
* 14/1 Nigel Harman
* 25/1 Catherine Tate (She only wanted to play one season.)
* 33/1 Billie Piper (She is a serious actress now.)

I must confess I am not familiar enough with BBC actors to make a qualified guess who might take over the role next. At this point, I can only report what I have run across.
Doctor Who Music Video

Here is my music video for the latest episode of Doctor Who, "Turn Left." It was an almost completely Donna-centric episode with a small,but key bit with Rose. I used "World's apart" by Vince Gill to set a somber tone to complement the darker theme of the episode. I have used two other country songs this year and have been complimented both times, so let us see if I am pushing my luck by trying it yet again.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Doctor Who--"Turn Left"

I was grossly skeptical when news leaked of Catherine Tate joining the cast of season four as the doctor’s new companion. All any of us knew of her were the generally obnoxious characters she portrayed on her sketch show. She had unfortunately brought said screeching, obnoxious personality to the 2006 Christmas special. There was not much indication she would be any better for an entire season, much less tolerable in an episode centered almost solely around her.

I am happy so say the character of Donna Noble has grown into one of the better companions the Doctor has had, new or old, but particularly the new. She has not had any of that puppy love Rose, Martha, and even jack suffered through-- or made us suffer through, if you prefer. She has become a strong, independent character even in a way Sarah Jane Smith has not. I had no problem seeing her carry an episode all by her lonesome. In fact, it was one of the best of the season thus far. Billie Piper’s return as Rose Tyler was icing on the cake. She is hot, you know.

I am a sucker for alternate reality plot lines, too. It comes from the first time I read “Days of Future’s Past” in the Uncanny X-Men way back in the days when I was just discovering comic books. Here, Donna wanders off from the Doctor and finds a fortune teller to read her fate. While doing so, an alien beetle crawls onto her back and affects a fateful decision she made in the past. Donna turns right instead of left and winds up never meeting the Doctor.

The result is the doctor is killed during the events of “The runaway Bride” too quickly to regenerate. Subsequently, Martha Jones and Sarah Jane Smith are killed when the Judoon steal the hospital in “Smith and Jones,” London is completely destroyed by the crash of the alien Titanic in “Voyage of the Damned,” and the Adipose from “Partners in Crime” kill 60 million Americans rather than Britons. Rose inexplicably keeps appearing to Donna before each of these events, guiding her to her destiny Rose eventually helps Donna get rid of the beetle by making her go back to the pivotal point where she diverged and turn left instead.

The doctor puts forth some quickie technobabble to explain the beetle’s power, but Rose’s warnings to Donna turn out to be real. The stars are disappearing even in our reality. Bad Wolf references emerge everywhere signaling Rose is returning to our reality just in time for the “coming darkness” no one seems to be able to stop.
I liked this episode a lot. I quipped as usual that no one person could possibly affect the world as desperately as Donna allegedly would if she not met the Doctor, but I can excuse that. The most peculiar point there was a throwaway line about how foreigners were being taken to labor camps after the whole south of England was nuked by the Titanic. That was a wee bit much. I did think the cutesy self-references to episodes of the past couple seasons ran on a bit too long before the story cranked up. The resolution wound up being rushed as a result.

Nevertheless, the story was good because I have grown to like Donna so much. Rose foretold she was ultimately going to die as has been hinted in several episodes. I hope her fate is not going to be that straightforward. She deserves better.

Was that not a cool preview for “The stolen earth,” too? All the old companions are back and Jack is bringing the rest of Torchwwod. Woo hoo! More Eve Myles! Do not forget Davros and a whole mess of Daleks. It looks great.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
In God We Trust

My emotions regarding someone’s claim to know the will of God has run from the skeptical to the disgusted. I recall many old Testament figures prominent in Christian theology required much proof before they believed in god’s instructions, so I often chalk up the notion that some Christians have of God “laying something on their hearts” as nothing more than an uncomfy twinge a little antacid could cure.

I come from regent university where the above notion gets tossed about so much, they ought to have a stamp made just to save time. I cannot tell you the number of times I have wanted to drive by ballpoint pen into the base of my neck hoping to end it all mercifully. When you talk to God, it is prayer. When God talks to you, it is schizophrenia. It is time to up your medication.

The problem I have with it on a theological level is I do not believe God, an infinitely powerful being, can be quantified by finite, fallible humans. The problem I have with it on a personal level is that people are often corrupt idiots willing to claim God’s will somehow coincides with what they really want, no matter how dumb and blatantly self-serving that might be.

Case in point: Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster had the audacity to tell Larry King a few days ago that the victim of his son’s drunken car crash, John Graziano, was put into a coma by God to make him a better person. Hogan did not bother to mention the role his amoral, self-absorbed, drunken son nick played in putting Graziano in a permanent coma, but there was only 44 minutes of interview time. I am sure he would have gotten around to it eventually.

Hogan is big on redemption in the eyes of god and viewers of VH1, as he has been pushing for a new reality show that will follow Nick’s post prison journey from a degenerate, unremorseful brat to a degenerate, unremorseful brat who can fake sincerity for thirteen episodes with an option for renewal should his reformation be a struggle or if it gets high ratings, whichever is more important.

I had to assume when I heard the news of Hogan’s plans the Graziano family was sharpening their legal swords, hopefully to stop the show in the first place out of general principle, but at the very least getting a piece of the pie should some scummy network executive think it isa good idea to run with. But the family’s first move was both brilliant and sad. I applaud it regardless because it put a face on John and exposed the Hogans for exactly the opportunistic jackasses they are.

The Grazianos released a video of John’s day to day rehabilitation. I just happened to see the pixelated version on Nancy Grace’s show while flipping channels. It was a tough video to watch because the young man was practically being maneuvered like a lifeless rag doll. But I still did not get the full impact until I decided to watch the uncensored version online.

Good Lord.

Half the boy’s skull is gone! You do not get the full severity of that, believe it or not, until you actually witness it. The Hogans have witnessed it and their first thought was how to cover their own butts over it and maybe even profit a bit. Even after that, they took it to a whole new depth by claiming it is all God’s will. God did not have anything to do with that, trust me.
Caturday

Friday, June 20, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: Is That Earth?

I had a request in a comment last week for more screen caps of the Battlestar Galactica mid-season finale, “Revelations.” Specifically, shots of the Galactica approaching the planet alleged to be earth. The issue in question is whether there were any overt signs the Galactica has actually found Earth at all, much less landed in the ruins of New York City. Here we have a few photos that might shed some light on that. Each can be enlarged by clicking on it.Here is the first one in which the fleet is approaching a land mass. It is ambiguous, but I think a good argument can be made we are looking at New England. Granted, I say so only because I am presupposing they actually have arrived in New York. Wherever they are, it is certain they are on the east coast of a land mass next to a large body of water.You can clearly see that in this shot. The foreground is dark and mountainous while the background has a bluer color. The former is land, the latter is water. If it is New York, I suggest the former are the Adirondack Mountains and the latter is the Atlantic Ocean.This one has nothing to do with identifying the planet, but there has been some controversy whether the debris behind Lee Adama is an overturned car. I would venture it is not, although I can imagine how it was intended to make viewers think that with only the quick flash of a glance weget at it. But in no other part of the panning scene is there any debris that is not obviously a rock or part of a destroyed structure. I just thought I would throw my $ .02 worth into that debate.

Executive producer Ronald D. Moore is obviously being coy about whether this is Earth. If was left ambiguous at least partially because, had the writers strike lingered, “Revelations” would have served as the series finale. Considering how dark the show often is, it would not have been much of a surprise for our heroes to find earth in ruins. It is fair to say that if the name of the planet is meant to be ambiguous, however, then there can still be some debate whether this is, in fact, Earth.

I recall the hybrid’s prophecy that Starbuck would lead humanity to its end, so she should not be followed. Only the audience is aware of the prophecy. A tracking ssignal in Starbuck’s Viper lead them to the planet. Is she leading them inadvertently into an ambush on Earth or has she lead them to another dead planet they only believe is Earth? Such would prompt humanity to end its search for the real Earth.

I am in the school of thought this is Earth. Starbuck claimed she visited it in the third season finale and everything was fine. If that is true, then she may have fulfilled the prophecy by leading whatever devastated the planet there. That would signal the end of humanity, especially if whatever did this decides to wipe out the remainder of humanity and the Cylons, too.
The Selling of Obama

So how long do you think it is going to take for Obamania to lose some of its luster? I have been of the mindset folks were excited about Barack Obama because he was a clean slate they could write anything on. Hence the tendency there for a while to believe he was the second coming of Robert Kennedy. On top of the blank slate, I figured a lot of his popularity had to do with the general dislike of Hillary Clinton. Thus, when he became more exposed and Clinton was out of the way, Obama would lose some of his luster.

It has happened to a degree. Obama’s bounce in the polls after becoming the presumptive nominee should have been in the double digits considering the general disfavor of the Republican Party. That his bounce was only around six points is, as far as I can see, a product of opposition to him rather than the popularity of John McCain. Obama’s handlers know this. They are already restricting press access to him in an effort to control the message he sends out to people.

How well will that work? If Obama truly wants to pass himself off as a man of the people, then gaining a reputation as standoffish to the press will not help. People may be skeptical of journalists in general, but they still listen to them. If the press whines about obama being secretive, the people will believe he has something to hide.

To some extent, the converse is true, as well. Obama already has ads running in eighteen states with heavy patriotic and Christian overtones specifically targeting various scandals involving his not wearing a flag pin, not putting his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, waiting too long to denounce Jeremiah Wright, and the silly circulating rumor he is secretly a Muslim. Obama is further planning a $ 4 million ad push during the upcoming Olympics. Overexposed and tightly controlled—people are going to notice that and get sick of it.

So far, Obama has been as Teflon as Bill Clinton was back in the day. But he has flip flopped so far on a hard line Middle East foreign policy, NAFTA, and public financing of his campaign. Apologists for Obama are allowing he has to say one thing on the campaign trail in certain places even if he is going to do another thing in office. That is the liberal notion of the masses not knowing what is best for them, so it is okay to patronizingly lie to them. Obama has a case of Americans are bad, but I can fix all you degenerates. The americanvoters are going to catch on quickly to that.
Kristen Bell has a Nice Rear End

There is no polite way to say Kirsten Bell has a nice behind, is there? Would I be the butt of any jokes if I said a donkey can also be called an ass? I really need to say that in order to ensure a long life in Google searches.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Outfoxed II

I got rid of Firefox 3 earlier today. There were eight million downloads and a load of apparently happy users, but I was not one of them. For me, it ran slow, froze up twice, and had problems recognizing scripts on certain pages. Yes, Firefox 2 froze up quite a bit, but with Firefox 3, I had that plus a myriad other problems. Sometimes I just do not know when I have it good.

Actually, I did know. There is something to be said for clinging to the old tried and true. I should have learned my lesson from when I switched to Vista, but I had obviously forgotten that one. Eventually the internet will evolve to where I will not be able to do much without the latest version of Firefox, so I will have to switch. Hopefully by then all the bugs will be worked out. I have to assume with eight million of the floating around out there, technical support has to be hopping around to put out fires.

I had to go around my elbow and take a detour around my knees in order to get rid version 3 and install version 2 without losing any data. The last thing I wanted to do was look up all these bookmarks yet again. I keep meaning to place them all on a website somewhere just in case I kill another lap top as I am apt to do. There is a project for someday soon.
The Ten Most Influential People in World History

A forum I frequent had this as a topic of discussion. Members posted some interesting choices, quite a few of which were hotly debated. the following is my list:
1. Jesus Christ (Christian leader)

2. Adolf Hitler (Shaped modern history)

3. William Shakespeare (Influenced most all subsequent literature)

4. Karl Marx (Communism killed 100 million people, enslaved many more.)

5. Johannes Gutenberg (Invented movable type)

6. Napoleon (Revolutionized war)

7. Mohamed (Created the 2nd most influential religion in the world)

8. FDR (Established federalism as dominant in US)

9. Paul (Said Gentiles could become Christians)

10. Wilhelm von Roggendorf, (kept Muslims from conquering Europe at Vienna)
The list leans heavily towards religious and military figures. A few members noted i had no scientists listed. I chalk that up to my social scientist tunnel vision. After further thought, I debated the inclusion of Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Jonas Salk, or Robert Oppenheimer.

Newton is an obvious choice just for the name recognition alone. Pasteur and Salk were responsible for saving numerous lives and advancing the field of medicine, but I cannot quantify that influence that had on world history versus the people I listed. I did consider Oppenheimer because splitting the atom and the advent of nuclear weapons probably kept the Cold war from becoming a hot one, but then again, is MAD the only reason there has never been another conventional war as devastating as World War II? I cannot say for certain, so Oppenheimer stays off. in other words, my ist stands.

What do you think? Feel free to try it yourself.
The Time Team

Here is the latest promo photo for Doctor Who's final story arc of season four. It is from "The Stolen Earth" and features all the companions, dubbed "The Time Team," in an embarrassingly goofy pose, but it is cool nonetheless.

Sice the photo has been clearly marked as promoting "The Stolen Earth" and not the finale, "Journey's End," I assume there will be at least one more photo released for the finale. i guess this also means Gwen and Ianto do not show up from torchwood. what could possibly keep them away from an invasion of earth? the excuse would have to be fantastic.

The photo can be enlarged to wallpaper size if you want a better look or a desktop background.
Rachel Weisz

I liked Brendan Frasier’s The Mummy. I cannot bring myself to call it a remake of the classic universal film, but it was goofy fun.. The movie was certainly a much better update of the classic monster films than Van Helsing or a couple other pitiable smaller projects in recent years. I am holding out hope for The Wolf Man remake due out shortly but how can you compete with Lon Chaney, Jr.?

I was not too thrilled with the sequel to The Mummy. The movie did not exactly cry out for a return, but Universal clearly wanted its own Indiana Jones-like franchise featuring Frasier. A third film is due out soon and is currently getting positive reviews at pre-screenings. This time around, the twist is we are dealing with ancient Chinese legends instead of Egyptian called The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. That has been a min t rend in Hollywood as of late withPirates of the Caribbean: Far Side of the World being the best example.

Reviews are positive, I liked the first one, and it was co-written by Mark Millar, a favorite comic book writer, so I will probably see it. But you know, it is going to be a lot emptier without Rachel Weisz. She will be replaced by Maria Bello as Evelyn. But you can take solace in the above photo in which Weisz does her best Bo Derek from Tarzan. Weird girl, she is.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AFI's Top Ten Lists

I will confess I did not sit for three hours last night watching the actual television special, so any commentary done on the rationales for a film’s inclusion is unknown to me. But I have viewed the lists themselves and can pointlessly argue AFI’s choices. But, hey, pointless arguments over subjective opinions are the most fun, right?

First and foremost, I have a quibble with how some films were classified. What makes Titanic an epic rather than a romance? The boat’s sinking was a masterful special effects sequence, but the heart of the movie is about the relationship between Leonardo DeCaprio’s and Kate Winslet’s characters. (Sorry, I do nor recall them. I was dragged to the theater by my then girlfriend way back then and have never watched it again. I did not date her much longer, either. 8Sigh*) Pretty much every other movie in the category was a war movie, so why throw in Titanic? It baffles me.

Looking over the lists, I note I have seen most all the movies in virtually every category. Romantic comedy is my least seen category, followed by gangster movie. Once you get passed James Cagney and Pulp Fiction, I am out of my element. I did see The Godfather once when I was way too young to be watching it. I would probably like it if I eversat down to watch it now.

My most viewed genre is, of course, science fiction. It is the only category which I have not only seen all the films, but have objections to some included and suggestions for those missed. Here is the list and what I think about it:

1. 2001-- I will give them this one. If you “get” the main theme—man’s dependence on tools and how he eventually evolves beyond it—then it is a great film. I suspect it is number one solely because Stanley Kubrick was the director. That is fine, I suppose, considering how visually stunning and ahead of its time the film was.

2. Star Wars: I love Star Wars, but it is not great science fiction. It is pop corn space opera with no real message at all. It was a unique science fiction film when it premiered, so perhaps that is what merits its inclusion. I might pt it on thelist, but certainly not a number two.

3. ET: We have some of the same issues as Star wars. it is a kid’s fantasy to have an alien pal, but is it great science fiction? It always struck me as a Lassie movie more than science fiction. Maybe I am jaded or that Steven Spielberg’s editing out of guns in the DVD release has wiped out the exploration of man’s irrational fear of something different versus ET’s inherent gentleness has eroded the film’s message for me.

4. A Clockwork Orange: They do love Kubrick, do they not? I am not entirely sure why you cannot classify this one as a gangster film, honestly. But I did enjoy the juxtaposition of how a degenerate criminal because the victim of a fascist society. It is a tough movie to watch, but I will grant you it belongs in the top ten. I am curious how much of its inclusion was motivated by the torture debate we have had in recent years over Gitmo.

5. The Day the Earth Stood Still: Now here we go. I love this movie. It was social commentary for the nuclear age when aliens warn Earth if it does not stop its violent ways, there are those out there who are willing to keep the peaceby the gun barrel. Which leads one to ask, “What is the difference?” You have to love the subtle cynicism. The film is being remade, but there is no way it can hold a candle to the original.

6. Blade Runner: Meh. Who cares, especially after additional scenes added for the DVD hinted that Harrison Ford is a replicant, too? I have never understood the fascination with this one.

7. Alien: This was a good film that started a lot of science fiction themes still in use today. If I am not mistaken, it is the first time there has been a true tough as nails heroine in the lead, to boot. Inclusion is definitely merited.

8. Terminator Ii: Judgment Day: It is a special effects wonder 9I am still freaked out by Sarah Connor’s skeleton clinging to the chain link fence during the nuclear explosion) but if I were going to include a Terminator film 9Not a sure thing, mind you), I would choose the first. It was more groundbreaking.

9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Classic Cold War paranoia. I liked it.

10. Back to the Future: A fun movie, but great? No way. It has even less of a claim to be in the top ten than Star Wars.
So that is the list AFI came up with. But what about Planet of the Apes? That was a brilliant film about man’s destructive nature, even if it was a stew of too much social commentary on too many separate subjects. How about The Time Machine? It is still a visually stunning movie. Metropolis? Definitely needs to be there for its historical significance if nothing else? How about King Kong? AFI called it a fantasy film, but I do not. Plus, I would place The Empire Strikes Back ahead of Star Wars not only because the personal drama is the best of the series, but it bucked tradition by having the bad guys win? Finally, why is Raiders of the Lost Ark nowhere to be found? Tsk, tsk.

Here is my revised list:

1. 2001
2. Planet of the Apes
3. The Day the Earth Stood Still
4. The Time Machine
5. Empire Strikes Back
6. Alien
7. Metropolis
8. Raiders of the Lost Ark
9. Star Wars
10. A Clockwork Orange

Ask me again next week, and this list will probably chance. But judging by my choices, if Harrison Ford had starred in a Stanley Kubrick science fiction film, it would probably have been the greatest of all time.
Tiger Woods Out for the Rest of 2008

If you are not absolutely sick of hearing how tiger woods’ injured knee was obviously plaguing him throughout the U.S Open, including a narrow victory in a 19-hole playoff, then fret no more. Woods has announced he is sitting out the remainder of 2008 to have another knee surgery and to fully recuperate.

I recall over the last few weeks many commentators speculating Woods was pushing it by returning to the game so quickly. I am curious how responsible for that they are. He was dogged by golf analysts unmercifully for his second place finish in the last major tournament and blaming the “poor” showing on his injured knee. While he does not seem like the type to be too flustered by such things, coming in second probably does bother him. It would not surprise me to know he rushed his recovery in a too competitive spirit.

It is a shame, too. He is in the prime of his career. Tiger Woods is one of those rare, dominating athletes like Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan who you brag about having seen play in their prime. We have arguably not had one of those since Jordan retired the first time.