Monday, May 31, 2010

AP Fears Barack Obama is Suffering Burn Out

Progressives in the media begin circling the wagons. Because this president stuff is hard.

It looks like last night's debate in the comments to this post on Obama's poor vacation timing was not an accident. The idea Obama needs vacation time precisely because there are a lot of bad things going on is a progressive talking point.

I see three possible rationales. One, they have genuine concern for the president. Two, they are making excuses for his distant behavior. Three, they are bracing for the announcement he will not run again and will instead cash in on speaking fees and book sales. Take your pick.

Thirty Days of Lost # 8--A Photo That Makes You Angry

Keamy shooting sixteen year old Alex execution style was the most shocking thing I have seen on television. How Lost got away with presenting such a brutal act of violence against a minor on network television during prime time hours is beyond me.

The above photo captures the moment perfectly.

Deep Space Nine--"Children of Time"

I am the first one to admit DS9 uses the concept of time travel too much. “Children of Time” is the eighth such instance and the third of the fifth season alone. There is not much room to complain about it here, though. “Children of Time” is oe of the best episodes of the series.

The Defiant investigates strange energy readings over a planet in the Gamma Quadrant. They discover the planet is inhabited by their descendants and a two hundred years older Odo. . In two days time, there is going to bean accident which will send the ship back two hundred years in time, marooning them there in the process.

As they plan out a way to prevent the crash from happening, the crew bond with their descendents. Eventually, they come to realize they have to go through with the crash as originally occurred so that al these people can live. There is one catch--kira does not survive.

She decides to sacrifice herself so the rest may live. But when they go through all the proper motions to recreate the crash, it does not happen. Our odo comes to Kira’s quarters later to confess the other Odo sabotaged the plan so she would not have to die. He says he committed the act out of love, but kira is aghast 8,000 people were wiped out of existence in her name.

I have mixed feelings about it myself. I am still in the camp Odo loves Kira een though the writers have been shifting away from the idea since “Shakaar.” Odo is still profoundly lonely regardless, but he has always tried to fill that lonely void with the pursuit of justice. Somehow, sacrificing 8,000 people--an unjust act-- for a love he can never have does not seem like something Odo would do.

Perhaps the intervening two hundred years changed his attitude or seeing Kira again after all that time affected him deeply. Whichever the case, his decision is bitterly tragic. The emotional impact offers “Children of Time” a boost above most other episodes.

Ratings: **** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 1--Reese Witherspoon

Number one on my all time favorites list should come as no shock to anyone who has been paying attention. I am the one who made burnt offerings in the name of Abby Cornish when Ryan Philippe got caught having an affair, so yeah, I am emotionally invested.

I have been a fan since her role in the Man in the Moon television movie back in her early teen years. I have been a stalker since 1999’s Cruel Intentions. Since then, we have had a few ups and downs as she refuses to acknowledge the undying love for me that I know is buried deep within her heart, but I am a man of infinite patience.

But seriously, she is a fine actress and very attractive woman. She has been in a number of films that have resonated with me at just the right time. Election, for one, came after some absurd experiences working in political campaigns and Legally Blonde during my first year of law school. Speaking of, I faced no argument more brutal in law school than defending Pleasatville from the fundamentalist Christians who saw it as the epitome of all that is celluloid evil. Then again, a fair amount of Regent University’s student body see satanic messages in their alphabet soup, so it is best just to role with it.

There is no way I could have chosen anyone else as my all time favorite.

Memorial Day

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Someone Give Barack Obama a Fiddle-- Rome is Burning!

It is dismaying to think it takes the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph to note Barack Obama's credibility has been shot over his ambivalent response to the Gulf oil spill and his passing the buck on the Joe Sestak scandal, not to mention the money supply is dwindling and the stock market just had its weakest month since 1940. the best the American press can do is point at Peggy Noonan's epiphany about his incompetence and laugh.

Obama is completely and utterly disconnected with reality. He does not recognize the importance of things. Even the most progressive of progressives is taking note, even if they are doing so reluctantly. Anyone who who is still trying to pin blame on Bush 43 or republicans looks foolish doing so.

Earlier this week, James Carville’s anger about the environmental impact of the oil spill on his home state of Louisiana got the better of him. Bill Maher’s frustration with Obama’s lack of “gangsta” attitude erupted on Real Time Friday night. Even Chris Matthews praised rush Limbaugh for attacking Bill Clinton over his rle in the Sestak business. The three of them formerly stauch obama allies, cannot help but see the truth.

What about Obama? He is on vacation and cannot be bothered to comment.

BP Needs a Plan B; Bill Maher Suggests Racist Stereotype Solution

Contrary to my earlier post, BP has not successfully stopped the Gulf oil leak and is moving on to plan B.

The "B" does not stand for Barack, in case you were wondering. But noted energy expert Bill Maher apparently thinks t is a good idea anyway:
HBO's Bill Maher: "I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt where you can see the gun in his pants. That's -- (in black man voice) 'we've got a motherfu**ing problem here?' Shoot somebody in the foot."
That is right, Bill. Let your enlightened liberal racist attitude run on a long leash. Your remarks shows everyone what you really are.

Blogroll Spotlight XLVI

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. As usual, these are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title.

American Digest--Memorial Day tribute.

Amusing Bunni's Musings--Another Week Over ad the Crisis Worsens.

Bedlam or Parnassus--The Physical Makes the Spiritual Real.

Big Feed--Indians Arrest Pigeon on Suspicion of Spying.

Camp of the Saints--I Had a Bad Trip, Maaannn!

Classic Liberal--I'm the Last of My Kind Still Standing.

Current--Failure to Lead.

Daley Gator--Faley Gator's Top 25 Babes of All Time. (Wonder where he got that idea from? Heh.)

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--Callin's.

Jaded Haven--Great Writing.

Left Coast Rebel--How Does Frank Rich Get Paid for This?

MAinfo--Ronald Reagan Speaks at Memorial Day Observance.

Mind Numbed Robot--Westboro Baptist Church Give Douchebags a Bad Name.

Other McCain--The Palin Hater Next Door.

Proof Positive--Saturday Linkaround.

Self-Evident Truths--Private Pay Sinks at All Time Low While Public Pay Soars.

Take it away, ladies:Teresamerica--Useful Idiots for Sharia Law: Ground Zero Mosque Approved.

Troglopundit--A Lefty Reads the Constitution.

Washington Rebel--Freedom Reflections.

Thirty Days of Lost # 7--A Photo That Makes You Happy

This photo from "Cabin Fever" in which Hurley shares his candy bar with Ben is one of the best moments of the fourth season. Their semi-friendship here takes on a whole new meaning in the final episode when Hurley becomes the island's protector with Ben as his adviser.

Deep Space Nine--"Soldiers of the Empire"

So what is Klingon therapy like? “Soldiers of the Empire” demonstrates.

Martok is given his first assignment since his imprisonment. He is given command of a ship ordered to find a missing Bird-of-Prey. Martok offers Worf the first officer role. Because the two made a ’warrior spirit’ connection while they were prisoners of the Jem Ha’Dar, Worf feels compelled to accept. Dax cannot resist being a tag along, so she signs up, too.

Unfortunately, the crew is demoralized because of a string of defeats they have suffered from the Jem Ha’Dar over the last seven months. Worse yet, Martok is gun shy about fighting battles since his capture. Even though the crew desperately needs a victory, Martok avoids the opportunity to strike, preferring instead to sneak round enemy ships.

The crew’s frustration collides with Martok’s timidity, erupting into a near mutiny. In order to build Martok up as a confident leader, Worf challenges him, but lets martok win the battle. With his fire restored, Martok defeats the Jem Ha’Dar in battle and rescues the crew of the missing Bird-of-Prey.

Later, worf admits he was not certain I Martok would kill him for issuing the challenge. Martok is grateful for Worf’s assistance in finding himself again. He offers Worf a chance to join his house. Worf readily accepts.

“Soldiers of the Empire” is pretty much a TNG episode set on a Klingon ship. It is as squishy and sensitive as Klingon-centric stories can get,. Therefore, it is a bit od, too. Not bad, but still strange.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 2--Jennifer Aniston

Back in the late '90's, ou could not have a conversation with anyone on Friday morning if you had not watched Friends the night before. It was Jennifer Aiston's Emmy winning portrayal of Rachel Green that often made the show palatable. by the tenth and final season, she had become the highest paid actress on television at $ 1 million per episode.

More recently, her personal life has been tabloid fodder as the Hollywood rags have been more sympathetic to her adulterous ex-husband Brad Pitt and his new sweet thang, Angelina Jolie. I cannot say for certain whether her relationship issues are fair game for the media or even reported accurately, but i am Team Aniston regardless.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Doctor Who--"Cold Blood"

I will say one thing for “Cold Blood”-- my complaint that last week’s episode was derivative of several episodes from the Russell T. Davies era does not apply to the conclusion. It I, however, a rather preachy morality tale that reminds me of something Brannon Braga would have banged out for the final season of Enterprise.

Humanity is the villain of the story. It is the drilling that has threatened their underground city and caused a near military coup planning to attack the surface world. The Doctor arranges for negotiations between Amy--still looking hot in that miniskirt--and the civilian leadership to share the surface world.

I am sorry, but that strikes me as grossly hokey. The Doctor is facilitating the coexistence of humanity ad reptiles, separated by millennia, by letting a young stripper--that is what Amy is, folks-- serve as the catalyst? That would be hopelessly idealistic for Gene Roddenberry, much less the powers that be at Doctor Who.

The story is redeemed when the Silurian hostage is killed. The negotiations break off as the military coup goes into full swing. The civilian leadership decides to send all the Silurians back into a thousand year hibernation at the end of which mankind will certainly be ready to share the planet. Or the place will have bee taken over by d*mn dirty apes either way it will be a fresh start for the Silurians an grandpa and his wife, who opts to stay behind so he can have his injury treated.

In a bit that seems tacked on, the crack in the universe appears as they are escaping to the TARDIS. Rory is shot and killed by a Silurian. When his body gets washed by the light from the crack, ay forgets who he ever existed. I already know he is going to show up I the finale, plus he has already “died” twice before, so the scene does not pack as much of an emotional punch as when the Doctor pulls a charred piece of the TARDIS out of the crack.

Although I am glad Rory will return. I like the character.

Anyone else think the awkward voice over was a pointless addition? It served for unnecessary exposition and acknowledgment the thousand year hibernation ended positively. Did we really need that to figure out the outcome?

I do not hate “Cold Blood.” The premise is great. But so much about it is executed poorly. Amy is written as more vapid than ever before. She is a pickpocket, too. There is a nice touch. Evvviiiilll humanity is behind itall, but in a thousand years, we will be every bit as wonderful as the lizards who used to run the joint. Sorry, but that is a really annoying concept.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Dennis Hopper (1936-2010)

This one really stings, Death.Godspeed, Mr. Hopper.

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around L

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

The Other McCain links to Scarlett Johasson and my All Time Favorites list.

Classic Liberal links to Scarlett Johasson, and Lindsay Lohan's March to Irrelevance,

TARDIS Scanner links to my review of Doctor Who's "The Hungry Earth."

News Online added the Eye to his blogroll.

Camp of the saints links to my All Time Favorites list.

MeNn links to Will Folks v. Nikki Haley.

Yokawater links to my review of Star Trek: Generations.

No Sheeples Here! adds me to her Something 4 Mutton.

Daydream Believer likes my Deep Space Nine reviews.

Mind Numbed Robot shows the Robolove.

A sincere thank you to all who linked. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.

Thirty Days of Lost # 6--Favorite Scene

I have always liked the phone call scene in "The Constant" when Desmond and Penny reconnect. None of the YouTube clips are embeddable, but here is a link.

Deep Space Nine--"Ferengi Love Songs"

“Ferengi Love Songs” is another sitcom-style effort in Trek, but it is saved from being terribly embarrassing by featuring Quark’s family.

Quark is depressed about his lowly lot I life thanks to losing his business license, so he goes home to see his mother. He discovers she has not only been carrying on an affair with the Grand Nagus, but she has been supplying him with better financial advice than he could ever muster on his own. Quark’s archenemy, brut, discovers the affair and offers quark a new business license if he breaks them up. Quark does. Asa result, the economy is ruined as well the his mother’s heart is broken.

Feeling guilty, Quark admits what he has done and fixes it all. Things return to normal with Quark’s mother secretly managing the Ferengi economy.

I the B-story, Rom and Leeta decide to get married. I do not even want to think about it or blood will spurt out of my nose.

“Ferengi Love Songs” is frivolous fun unlike most anything else done in Trek. A nice change of pace, but only if one is partial to the tone of Ferengi-centric stories.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 3--Kristen Bell

The number three ranked Kristen Bell corresponds with this week's The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday. With her philosophy of "nerdy is the new cool" and cute looks, I can forgive her for beig a PETA activist who avidly campaigned for Barack Obama.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Obama Disconnect

Barack Obama spent three hours touring the oil spill, but routinely spends five hours on the golf course.

(Via: Drudge Report via: American Digest)

Gary Coleman (1968-2010)

Gary Coleman has passed away in a Provo, Utah hospital after a fall caused a severe ntercranial hemorrhage.

I am like everyone else my age. I watched Diff’rent Strokes, The Kid with the Broken Halo, and The Kid with the 200 IQ, and pretty much any other television movie or sitcom that called for a precious kid. Just to show I had poor taste in television growing up, I even remember Coleman as “The Cosmic Whiz Kid” in an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Coleman had a pretty rough life. He was born with kidney disease which required frequent dialysis and eventually two transplants. He was cheated out of and had to sue his parents for millions in royalties from his acting career, which for over a decade now has consisted of mocking himself. Now is not the time to elaborate o his personal legal troubles in recent years.

He came in eighth place in the 2003 California recall election for governor when he was not even running. There is an accomplishment, no?

Something tells me his death is going to become a laugh line for comedians over the next few days, so I will lay off. I will give him credit for providing quite a bit of entertainment for me over the years.

Godspeed, Mr. Coleman.

White House Used Bill Clinton to Urge Joe Sestak to End Senate Race

I am as certain the White House statement on the matter is carefully worded to coverall important rear ends as I am nothing will come out of it even if it was not.

This sounds like the Chicago Way migrating to DC. Probably without any problems, considering ObamaCare was passed with the same underhanded tactics.

Barack Obama has just used Clinton as a buffer to keep his hands clean. Such is even better than claiming some low level staffer offered Sestak a job without knowing it was an ethical violation to do so. Plus, Obama gets back at Clinton for dismissing his primary win in South Carolina as appealing solely to blacks. You cannot tell me that is not the cherry on top the pass the blame sundae.

Thirty Days of Lost # 5--Favorite Season

My favorite season is the third. The powers that be tried an experiment of running six episodes in the fall and then the remaining sixteen uninterrupted in the spring as a way of avoiding the frequent repeats that had plagued the first two. I thought the fall miniseries in which Jack was forced to perform surgery on Ben while Kate and Sawyer built the runway that would eventually be used by Ajira 316 was largely a diverting mess, the rest of the season well redeemed itself.

The highlight of the season is the journey of three characters: Locke, Juliet, and Desmond. Locke and Juliet go in polar opposite directions as he shifts from the Lostaways to the Others as her bond with Jack allows her to break free of Ben’s control. Desmond becomes a pivotal character as not only does his new abilities time shifting abilities thanks to his exposure to electromagnetism emerge, but so does the most mature romance on the show between penny and him.

I have already listed the season finale as my absolute favorite episode with the death of Charlie and the introduction of theflashforwards, but there are many highlights. Juliet’s back story in “Not in Portland,“ Desmond’s first time travel adventure in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,“ and the story of Locke’s paralyzing injury in “The Man from Tallahassee” among them. I am one of the few fans who does not despise the very existence of Nikki and Paulo, too.

The third season was masterful overall.

Deep Space Nine--"Ties of Blood and Water"

“Ties of Blood and Water” is a sequel to the third season episode ‘Second Skin” in which Kira was genetically altered to become the long lost daughter of a prominent, Ghamor, in order to expose him as a member of the dissident movement. He and Kira bonded in the ordeal. Since then, they have served as surrogate family for one another.

In this episode, Kira brings him to DS9 in order to gather intelligence on the dissident movement since the Dominion takeover. Ghamor is dying, so he quickly has to impart all that he knows to Kira. As he does, Dukat and Weyoun arrive on DS9 to demand his extradition.

The story continues Dukat’s slide towards villainy after a long stretch of shades of grey in his morality. He and Kira have gone back to a personal animosity in which Dukat gets a perverse pleasure--words chosen deliberately, considering his physical attraction for her-- in tormenting her. Attempting to separate her from her surrogate father here is one of the most brutal.

He nearly succeeds by exposing Ghamor’s involvement in a monastery massacre during the occupation. Kira as appalled. She thought Ghamor was different than other Cardassians. Dax convinces her that no matter what he has done, he does not deserve to die aloe. Kira thinks back to how her father died alone because she was off on a terrorist raid and decides she cannot let Ghamor die without ’family’ present.

I suppose it is a sweet sentiment, but given the parallels between the nazis and Jews so often alluded to in the Cardassian/Bajoran relationship, I cannot help but think kira’s decision is like a Holocaust survivor befriended the Nazis who violently put down the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Sometimes forgiveness seems like a betrayal to those who have been wronged. Perhaps that feeling is a moral failing, but I have doubts.

Ghamor dies. Kira buries him o Bajor next to her father to keep Dukat from gaining any political advantage from bringing the body back to Cardassia. Again, that is awkward. Kira’s father died because of his imprisonment by Cardassians. He is probably rolling over in his grave in consideration of his new neighbor.

Weyoun makes a return appearance. The writers decided the Vorta clone themselves as a means of bringing back Jeffrey Combs to play the role. We have to overlook the fact that multiple cloning degrades each additional copy, but I am willing to do so since Weyound is such a amusing character.

“Ties of Blood and Water’ is not a bad episode. I can appreciate what the writers were trying to do with it, but I find the continued relationship between Kira and Ghamor, considering his atrocity, too disturbing to appreciate the message that anyone can be forgiven. Like I said above, maybe it isa personal failure, but I think the concept was a misfire.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 4--Jessica Simpson

I am going to let my shallow side run on a long leash here. Jessica Simpson is a baby doll. that is about it. she cannot sing. She cannot act. I often wonder how she uses a fork without hurting herself. She may have even cursed the Dallas Cowboys by making Tony Romo weak in the knees. But she is hot. down south, we tend to like them that way--hot and dumb.She did a passably acceptable cover of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" a few years ago.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lee DeWyze Wins American Idol

Since I have mentioned the American Idol competition off and on over the last few weeks, should note Lee DeWyze pulled off what is being called an upset win even though he had received every boost imaginable short of the producers hiring armies of college students to text vote for him. I would not put that passed them, either.

I have been comparing DeWyze to Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, but after watching his inspired pairing with Joe Cocker, their comparison is more apt. But if the notion DeWyze was favored because he is more commercial than hippie chick Crystal Bowersox, one has to ask exactly how viable is Cocker these days? The last song I recall from him was “When the Night Comes.” That was…when? 1988? He is on the verge of becoming a cheap touring act trying to relive forty year old glory like Paul McCartney.

I suppose that is why many fans have been down on this season’s contestants and why the judges kept harping on them to be more contemporary. Even the top two finalists do not fit well into today’s music scene.

Last night’s show was the lowest rated finale yet even though it had the bonus of serving as Simon Cowell’s swan song. Maybe they should not have kept Bret Michaels’ performance a secret. He has been on a tear lately. Perhaps he should have more medical emergencies in the future. It has done wonders for his career. Speaking of, he should be given serious consideration for replacing Cowell.

I imagine American Idol’s ratings are going to continue to erode without Cowell. If nothing else, his American version of X-Factor starting in the fall of 2011 is going to mean a singing competition on FOX all season log. That does not count NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Look for mediocre talent spread really thin over the next few years.

Gulf Oil Leak Plugged

The Top Kill solution apparently worked. There is some good news for once.

Thirty Days of Lost # 4--Favorite Musical Score

My favorite musical score is "Life and Death," composed by Michael Giacchino, and used in "Do No Harm." The scene is the contrast of newborn Aaron being introduced to the Lostaways as Jack has to tell Shannon her brother Boone has died:

Deep Space Nine--"Business as Usual"

“Business as Usual” pulls double duty. It is a Quark Actually Has a Conscience and an O’Brien Must Suffer episode. Quark’s story is good as usual. The O’Brien B-story tries a little too hard to be cute, but I ca handle it.

The episode also marks the third time an actor from Rambo: First Blood, Part II appears on DS9. This time, it is Steven Berkoff, who played Padovsky in Rambo. The other two are Charles Napier, who played Murdock in the movie and appeared in ’Little Green Men” and Julia Nickson, who played Co in the movie and appeared in “Paradise.” I am sure they are all very proud of this intersection.

Word travels fast that Quark’s bad investments have left him nearly broke, so his cousin shows up to offer him a job as an arms dealer. One never goes broke dealing in weapons. Quark agrees, but gets in way too deep when he is to sell weapons with which his buyer plans to kill 28 million people. There are limits to Quark’s greed, so he stops the deal and exposes the genocide plot.

In the B-story, O’Brien cannot get Kirayoshi to sleep without his mother there, so he has to hold him constantly, even at work, to keep him from crying. Only Worf is able to placate the baby. Did not see that coming after Worf’s bad reaction to taking care of data’s cat in TNG, did you? Yeah, I figured you did.

We get further proof in “Business as Usual” that quark has a certain moral center. It is always good when his character is fleshed out to be more than a greedy crook or comic relief.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 5--Gillian Anderson

I am a big fan of The X-Files. Much of my fondness for the show has to do with Gillian Anderson’s Emmy, Golden Globe, and People’s Choice award winning portrayal of FBI Special Agent Dana Scully. She played Scully as a smart and sexy straight laced type, which just goes to prove her acting chops. By most accounts, Anderson is a New Age, rebellious punk type.

In recent years, she has moved back to London, where she grew up once her family moved from her birthplace of Chicago, where she could pursue more serious acting roles. She did return to play Scully in the recent X-Files II: I Want to Believe,, a sequel which sorely disappoint me for lack of the show’s mythology.

It was no fault of Anderson’s however. She is aging like fine wine:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Proof Will Folks Had an Affair with Nikki Haley

CNN buries its statement in thesixth paragraph after examining the correspondence Will Folks claimed would prove his alleged affair with Nikki Haley.

When Barack Obama Has Lost James Carville...

...then you know he is in trouble.

James Carville is an unabashedly obnoxious progressive who stood by Bill Clinton through numerous scandals out of loyalty to ideology, so when he starts blasting Barack Obama over his lack of action I handling the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, I take note. While I am certain he is fired up because the fragile ecology of his home state of Louisiana is being threatened, there is a sense of urgency the president is damaging the Democrat brand.

It is a fair concern. The il has been leaking for five weeks now with no real action on the part of the White House. Obama has plans to suggest new regulations on Thursday and will visit the area for a photo op on Friday, but that is the extent of his actions. If the leak drags on much longer, this is going to become Obama’s Katrina.

Bush 43 never really recovered, right or wrong, post-Katrnia. That was not so long ago, Obama could forget the message. November is coming up and the democrats cannot afford another slam against them.

The question is what is Obama’s problem? Is he embarrassed over his connections to BP? There is much federal blame for the initial accident? All the Gulf states effected voted for John McCain in 2008? Maybe he is just bored because it is not a class warfare or racial issue. Good, old fashioned incompetence cannot be ruled out. Whatever it is, even his own party recognizes his failure as a leader to even give the appearance he is on top of things.

American Idol Photo Finish

The attempt to manufacture a win for Lee DeWyze over longtime frontrunner Crystal Bowersox held my attention well enough for me to watch the final performances last night. Several judges’ comments, such as Randy Jackson wishing Lee DeWyze the best of luck in making an album as though he was not going to win a recording contract here, implied they were back to believing Crystal Bowersox was going to win.

I was inclined to agree with that assessment by the end of the show. she strategically opted to perform second so that her performances would be fresher in the viewers’ minds. Good strategy there. She chose “Me and Bobby McGee” for her first song. Another wise choice, considering that song from early in the season is what put the Janis Joplin comparison in play. Then she tore into the Elvis tribute “Black Velvet.“ The final song was this original inspirational bit The American Idol songwriters do not often hit the mark custom making songs for contestants, but they were spot n there.

Aside from some obvious jitters and awkwardness where Bowrrsox dropped the microphone during the opening sequence and was wearing a dress so tight, she could barely walk down the staircase during “Black Velvet,” Bowersox was head and shoulders the best singer of the night.

DeWyze was clearly nervous, too. He blew the melody at points on all three songs. He chose to do ’The Boxer” again. Perhaps I am biased because I love Simon ad Garfunkel, but he sings the song too fast and upbeat. I feel justified in my complaint because e made REM’s ’Everybody Hurts” far more bouncy than it should conceivably be. The song written especially for him, “Beautiful Day,” was decent.

Here is what I am curious about. DeWyze strikes me as a Bon Jovi/Bruce Sprigsteen type. He is a rocker who can pull of a ballad or two now and then. He is not refined, since he makes a lot of warbling mistakes, but he is commercial that way. the show seems hellbent on turning him into a Nickelback or Creed solo act in order to push him over the finish ine. Meanwhile, Bowersox is so much more refined and talented. The problem is she is Nanci Griffth or Kate Melua. Nothing wrong with that. I like them both. But they are not commercial acts, so they are not American Idol material. The goal is not to find an artist but to sell a ton of records.

So DeWyze needs to be the winner. According to the historically reliable Dial Idol, he is going to defeat Bowersox handily tonight. Too bad, really.

Thirty Days of Lost # 3--Favorite Female Character

My favorite female character is Juliet Burke. Her journey from mousy, abused woman to a caring sister to a conniving villain and finally a happy, well-adjusted in love woman was one of the most mature character growth sequences o the series.

Plus, she was hot and had that fun sarcastic wit. She would have made the most entertaining Lost woman to be around.

I will grant you I do not really buy into her romance with Sawyer The writers tried to lay the groundwork for it in the third and fourth seasons, but I just cannot see the two of them hooking up. They are too much alike. Considering they both have a sense of self-loathing, it makes no sense they would fall for each other. It was a forced romance because they were stuck together in the ’70’s with no one else.

The romance did not ruin the character for me, obviously, but I imagie I would have preferred her arc to go in a different direction

Deep Space Nine--"A Simple Investigation"

“A Simple Investigation” is another bittersweet of Odo trying to find love, but not quite making it. Some of these episodes are tough to watch because they hit close to home. This one does not resonate with me as much as some of the others like “Heart of Stone” have. Trek just does not do romance very well. It doesrise above “Let He Who is Without Sin…” but pretty much anything short of being dragged naked across gravel by a speeding train would.

Odo has to protect a woman from a murder plot. As he does, he slowly falls in love with her. You know it is desperate because he goes to Bashit for advice. Bashir, being the reckless type, advises him to go for it with any consideration for professional ethics. His rationale is Odo should not fear the pain of rejection, because if he goes through life avoiding rejection, the pain of loneliness will cripple him.

So he does go for it and they wind up in bed together. Not Odo and Bashir. Odo and Ailissa. It comes across as kid of sweet. Odo has never done it before, so he feels compelled to sheepishly ask if he did it well. But I could not help but recall that Odo--how can I put this discreetly?--does not have the equipment for the job naturally, so he had to form one. Is that not…awkward? It casts this odd pall over the scene.

The romance cannot last. the science fiction twist is that Ailissa is not the woman’s real name, face, or identity. When the investigation has concluded, she returns to normal--a married woman who does not love Odo. Talk about getting the rug cruelly yanked out from under you. Or in this case, a pretty woman yanked out from under you. Literally, as it were.

The intended emotional impact just was not there for me. I have two problems with the episode, aside from the logistics of the sex scene. One, it would have been more poignant if Odo had his relationship with Ailissa when he was human. Falling in love would have made his experience as a human more poignant. Two, the episode impies that he no longer loves Kira. I do not buy it. Too many little instances, even as she is in a relationship with Shakaar, say otherwise. Ultimately, he does win her affection, but I prefer to think he was carrying a torch all along.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 6--Shania Twain

Shania Twain is the third and final Canadian in the top ten. I am one of the rare birds who is a fan from her first, self-titled album back in 1993. She did not make much of a splash then, but a couple songs like “What Made You Say That?” and ’You Lay a Whole Lot of Love on Me” are still favorites on the rare occasion I hear them anywhere.

Twain skyrocketed to fame when her producer husband Mutt Lange turned her into a sex symbol for her second album, The Woman in Me. The rest has been history. Her 1997 follow up album, Come On Over, is the best selling album by a female artist and the best selling country album of all time.

Over the years, she has racked up 65 million albums sold, won five Grammys, and 27 BMI songwriting awards.

She gets a mixed reaction among country fans. On the one hand, many blame her and Garth Brooks, with their rock influences, for ruining country music in the early ’90’s. on the other, she is considered like Elvis--ot so much country, but still embraced by country fans anyway.

I am firmly in the latter category. While I grew up listening to my parents’ country music, I liked rock up until rap, hip hop, and grunge took over the airwaves. There was not a place for much of the music I liked--Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, et al--in rock, so any similar artist moved over to country. I was comfortable with country becoming less traditional. I was very comfortable with Twain.

She has gotten a little strange in recent years. She has always been a little odd because of her tough upbringing. She was orphaned in her teenage years and had to take care of her younger siblings. Having to grow up fast does things to you mentally and emotionally. She moved to a chateau in Switzerland, become a devotee of Sant Mat , a philosophy of meditation and vefetarianism, and swears by a beauty treatment is using an ointment applied to cow udders.

I still love her.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

South Carolina Democrats Touting Lefty Poll That Still Has Jim DeMint Up by Seven

South Carolina Democrats,taking a break from fantasizing about will Folks' allegedly sex life, are celebrating a poll which has Jim DeMint up 50-43% over his opponent, Vic Rawls. there are a ew problems with this.

One, the poll was conducted by SCindex, a blog which is run by two Democrat consulting firms in Columbia.

Two, its poll sample was 438 "likely" voters with no definition of what constitutesa likely voters or the partisan distribution of those polled.

Three, the margin of error is 4.6& That is a heck of margin. I guarantee DeMint is up by much more because of it. A twelve point lead over Rawls sounds far more likely than seven. twenty would not shock me, either. No one has ever heard of Rawls.

Four, who is Vic Rawls? He is a retired circuit court judge and state legislator who entered the race for two reasons: Chad McGowan, the only other Democrat to run, could not raise any money or garner much support and two, no one else wanted to inevitably lose to DeMint.

I assure you, this poll is garbage. If DeMint does not defeat Rawls by 15+ points in November, I will eat a fried earthworm.

Who Will Be Barack Obama's Primary Opponent?

Barack Obama's poll numbers have dropped to 42%, the lowest of his presidency, and independents are leaving him in droves. With little chance of recovery, it is getting to the point where Democrats are reaching panic mode. Someone is bound to step up and challenge Obama.

What I figure is this; there is not enough time for Obama to come up with any policy that will win him any popularity by November. I am not sure he even has any popular ideas period even if he did have time to implement them. There are going to be Republican gains in the November election. Some of those estimates of up to seventy House seats are laughable, but the thirty or so needed to retake the House for the GOP is not. Regardless anything less than a next to impossible Democrat resurgence is going to be bad for obama.

Will the party blame him and support a primary opponent or will they support hissinking ship? I am assuming his overblown ego will compel him to run again in spite of sinking poll umbers.

The party may very well assume Obama has doomed them the same way Bush 43 doomed the GOP in 2008 and support a surefire losing candidate. The Republicans may even help them along by nominating another dud themselves.

But I think there is also the possibility Hillary Clinton is going to give it another go, perhaps with the implication she should be supported this time around to make up for not nominating her in 2008. She is probably the only one with the resources and nerve to mount a campaign. Evan Bayh may think e is a decent alternative. Whatever happens, a decision has to be made soon. Any 2012 candidate has to begin raising money by 2011, so any potential candidates need to decide now to run.

Net Worth of Presidents: George Washington to Barack Obama

A facebook friend pointed out this article in The Atlantic calculating the net worth of every president. Looking at the list, I note a couple things.

One, the list calculates net worth at the time of death or current net worth if the former president is still alive. (Barack Obama still being alive, president, and worth $ 5 million.) there is no real differentiation between how much money the man was worth before becoming president versus how much his net worth grew beause he was once president.

An obvious exception here is Bill Clinton, who had little more than his salary as governor of Arkansas before being elected president. He has earned all of his #34million after leaving office through book sales and speaking fees.

Have other presidents had such a glaring change in income earning potential post-presidency? I would imagine so. I would further imagine relatively young presidential aspirants like Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama, who figured on having a long life after leaving the White House, were counting on cashing in once they left office.

Two, there are long stretches of time in which presidents have relatively similar net worth. There will be a period of time with many very wealthy presidents, then a time with may of net worth less than $ 1 million. Political party affiliation does not appear to be much of a factor.

It lends credence to the political science theory that the Populist v. elitist divide is more important than the progressive v. conservative one. Sometimes Americans want a plutocrat elitist and other times Americans want a common man wecan relate to. The political parties have an abundance of both.

Do you see any other interesting trends in the data?

Will Folks Gets No Traction Against Nikki Haley

It looks like Will folks’ ’confession” that he had an affair with South Carolina gubernatorial frontrunner Nikki Haley has made him a laughingstock. The only ones taking him seriously is the state’s Democratic party and that is only out of frustration because we would rather have an adulterous loon like Mark Sanford in charge than any of the crooked doofuses they scrounge up.

Ever hear of Vincent Sheheen? Neither has anyone else in the palmetto State, but he is their man to lose to Haley, Henry McMaster, Gresham Barrett, Andre Bauer, the night manger of the Mechanicsville Holiday Inn, or any other Republican the part cares to nominate.

In all seriousness, Will Folks' motivations aresadly clear, as are his delusions at being a ladies man. Folks has earned less than @ 2,00 from the Haley campaign for some writing work he has done for them and decided to come forward with his "confession" in order to beat a free weekly newspaper to the punch.

That would be the Free Times, An alternate rag largely distributed on the campus of the University of South Carolina and trendy establishments frequented by those who would prefer to not admit they are from South Carolina in polite company. Readers of the Free Times are split into two categories: those who fantasize South Carolina will become Massachusetts one day and those who read through the anonymous personals and try to identify which of our professors are the closeted gay BDSM freaks looking for discreet playmates.

A Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper this ain’t.

The interesting part is how much exposure the non-scandal has given Haley outside the state. She had gone from fourth place to first in the primary with the endorsement by Sarah Palin--convenient that is when Folks speaks up, no?-- and has done nothing but solidly her position since. I would be surprised if Folks’ fantasy can make a dent in her campaign.

(Yes, I am still certain there will be a run off since there are some many candidates and the supporters of the defeated establishment candidates may line up against her in the run off, but that is the good old boy system at work, not a reflection on Haley as a potetial governor.)

Thirty Days of Lost # 2--Favorite Male Character

My favorite male character is John Locke. His was the most well developed character. It as written especially for Terry O’Quinn, whom J. J. Abrams had previously worked with on Alias, O’Quinn was the only actor to not have to audition for his role on Lost. It is likely because, not only is O’Quinn a fine actor, but the character of Locke has strong echoes of Peter Watts, his character from the cult favorite Millennium.

I identify a lot with the character of Locke. He is someone who has always tried to be more than he is even though circumstances keep knocking him back down every time he is on the verge of getting what he wants. The character has the inevitable dark side that comes from a life of struggle with little to show for it, but he never totally loses his faith that he could be a good guy whom everyone looks up to.

True to form, he only realizes after he is dead that he as right to have faith when it was too late to give him any peace on Earth.

Deep Space Nine--"Doctor Bashir, I Presume?"

Let me reiterate for the umpteenth time, I am not a Bashir fan. But in “Doctor Bashir, I Presume?” there are two redeeming factors. One, Robert Picardo makes a appearance as Lewis Zimmerman, the creator and model for the Emergency Medical Holograms. Ricardo is always a joy. He is also stands head and shoulders above anyone on his regular show, VOY. Two, we finally learn why Bashir is such an arrogant jackass.

Zimmerman comes to DS9 in order to model the latest version of the EMH after Bashir. As we will later see, the idea is abandoned in order to model the latest EMH after Andy Dick. Apparently, the federation has its own version of ObamaCare which kicked in around the 24th century, so that is about the best quality of medical care around. Scary thought.

Zimmerman wants to know all about Bashir’s past so he can fully program the EMH with Bashir’s personality. But Basir is not very forthcoming, particularly about his childhood. Zimmerman decides to invite basher’s parents to DS9 to interview them. Bashir is not happy to see them and for good reason. They brig the secret with them that Bashir is genetically enhanced.

He was not a good student as a child, but rather than let him fall behind in his studies, his parents secretly sent him to a specialist to have his genetically altered to metal and physical perfection. Such is illegal in the Federation, but his father takes full responsibility and goes to jail forth crime so Bashir can remain in Starfleet.

No explanation is given why children were being genetically engineered in TNG’s “Unnatural Selection,” but one suspects that was part of Gene Roddenberry’s often conflicted view of utopia. If man had become perfect morally in the 24th century, he must have been genetically perfect as well. Very fascist viewpoint and one subsequent Trek writers pretend never existed. Wise move.

Having Bashir be genetically enhanced was never part of the long term plan One suspects tons of continuity errors throughout the series up util this point which are best let unexamined.

Rom and Leeta inexplicably hook up in this episode. Grab your barf bags.

“Doctor Bashir, I Presume?” is not bad for a Bashir-centric installment. At least it does bother to explain why he acts as insufferably as he does. One has to excuse the contradiction on genetica engineering’s status with ’Unnatural Selection,” but since I disliked that episode--mostly because Pulaski did not die in it--I can forgive it. Like I said above, the addition of Picardo makes everything better

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 7--Mila Kunis

Born in the Ukraine to a physicist and a mechanical engineer, this brainy beauty is a un-Hollywood World of Warcraft geek. She is also dating Macauley Culkin, so her standards are incredibly low. Sure, she also voices Meg on Family Guy, but her other characteristics redeem her.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lindsay Lohan's March to Irrelevance

Actress Lindsay Lohan appeared in a Beverly Hills courtroom today for failing to appear for a scheduled hearing Thursday, violatig her probabtion agreement stemming from a 2007 DUI. Lohan's excuse was that she was stranded in France, where she had been attending the Cannes Film Festival and snorting cocaine, because of a stolen passport.

Lohan, dressed in a blazer and low cut top which most certainly did not have the desired effect Judge Martha Revel, showed up seven minutes late to the hearing. She was ordered to wear a alcohol monitoring device, submit to drug tests, and attend alcohol education classes for which she can only miss if one conflicts with a random drug test between now and her next hearing on July 6th.

Place your bets on what happens first:

1. The alcohol monitoring device marks her as off the charts drunk.
2. She fails drug test.
3. She misses an alcohol education class.

Lohan will not make it fiveweekswithout one of these things occurring. Bonus points if she misses the hearing in July.

The problem with Lohan, aside from being the result of bad pareting, is that she still thinks she is a big enough star to get away with her behavior. But she is on the verge of irrelevance. She is not making people in the business enough money to put up with her antics. She is not much of asexsymbol these days, either. The older shegets, the fewer peope are going to care about her. It isashame herstar is going to burn out--literally--at the youg age of 23.

I cannot hold the justice system blameless, either. It keeps giving lohan chance after chance which she has failed miseraly at utilizing. Lowlier drug and alcohol offenders would have been thrown in the pokey long ago. No wonder she feels above the law.

South Carolina Political Blogger Admits Affair with Nikki Haley

Politics in my home state never ceases to amaze me.

UPDATE: Haley denies doing the deed.

UPDATE II: If there is another hot, Republican babe running for office willing to *ahem8* date in exchange for positive blog posts, I am not above it. Feel free to contact me so we can negotiate. Not all blog promotion comes at the same price, you see.

UPDATE III: Sarah Palin to the rescue.

Thirty Days of Lost # 1--Favorite Episode

I cannot let Lost go that easily without some sort of retrospect, so I am going to do one of those memes that have become popular on Tumblr.

It is tough to single out one episode as my absolute favorite. There area number of them which stand out for various reasons. But it had to pick one that fired on all cylinders, it would have to be the third season finale, ’Through the Looking Glass.”

This episode featured the first time the Lostaways took the offensive against the Others. It has been labeled the series game changer because it introduced the flash forwards, although we did not know the story with Jack was taking place three years later after he had escaped the island with the rest of the oceanic Six. “Through the Looking Glass” is most famous for Charlie’s death scene. He was far from my favorite character, but I agree his sacrifice is the most touching moment of the first half of the series.After an entire season of foreshadowing Charlie's death, it still packed an emotional wallop when it came.

I cannot forget 'Through the Looking Glass" also introduced the mystery of who the dead Jeremy Bentham really was:A great episode all around.

Deep Space Nine--"By Inferno's Light"

“By Inferno’s Light’ is the conclusion of the two part re-emergence of the Dominion as the major villains of DS9. It is the biggest escalation since the third season and something of a course correction after the whole Klingon-Federation conflict that just sort of limped along there for awhile. As such, it has a lot to accomplish I ashort period of time.

The episode runs through three stories. One, the Dominion fleet that came through the wormhole in the cliffhanger is heading for Cardassia. Dukat has arranged for Cardassia to join the Dominion while he takes over the government himself. Two, the Changeling posing as Bashir puts his plan into motion of luring the entire Federation-Klingon fleet into a massive star explosion that will destroy them and the entire Bajoran system. Finally, Worf, Garak, the real Bashi, and Martok facilitate a prison break.

The results are Cardassia becomes the foothold for the Dominion in the Alpha Quadrant, the Changeling dies while failing to destroy the fleet, and everyone escapes the Dominion prison for a hero’s welcome home. Gowron resigns the Kkitimer Accord reestablishing the Klingon alliance with the Federation and appoints Martok head of the permanent imperial military presence on DS9.

It is an exciting episode that sets up much of the story arc that will carry through the rest of the series. But it lacks a lot of hart. There is a brief attempt to add dimension to the Jem Ha’Dar when one refuses to fight Worf any further in sporting combat because he realizes killing him would not defeat his spirit, but that is about it. The episode isall about foreshadowing worse things to come. It could have been better, it could have been worse.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 8--Neve Campbell

The lovely Neve Campbell counts as the second of three Canadians in the top ten.

Perhaps I was blinded by lust (I did once plot Jon Cusack’s death when they were dating) but I believe she was going to be one of the few like Rebbecca de Mornay, Laura Dern, and Elizabeth Shue who could make the transition from teenie bopper movies to better roles as she aged like fine wine. Instead, she seemed to drop off the map sometime in the last eight years.

A quick glimpse at the IMDb says she has had some supporting roles on television and been in a few indie films. But nothing big since Scream 3 and Party of Five. I liked the Scream series all right. I do not believe I was able to sit through more than an episode or two of Party of Five. It was tough, because if you wanted any sort of social life in college, you had to be well versed in either that show or Friends. I believe the latter was the road most traveled.

I do have some notion neve has tried to recapture her old fanbase by appearing naked in several movies. I am not complaining a whole lot, mind you, but I recall the days when shedid not have to do that to get me in the theater. Ah, nostalgic rage. It can be more bitter than sweet, no?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lost--"The End"

I thought “The End” was beautiful in both its symmetry and simplicity. Legions of fans are probably already complaining that may mysteries were not solved. Indeed, may were not. But to complain about such things is missing the whole point of the show as revealed in the final few minutes. Right until the very end, Lost kept its tradition of making episodes classics in the final act.

The Calvinist in me makes me a big picture kid of guy. The nit picky geek in me has been disappointed by many of the answers we have gotten this season. The smoke Monster was created by Jacob when he threw Hobbes into the light/ Okay. That sort of thing did not sing or dance. My imagination conjuring up possible theories was much better. So forget where the DHARMA food drop came from and just assume it was Jacob’s doing. Look at the big picture instead. I imagine if you cannot do that--or really hated the divine intervention explanation for Battlestar Galactica--neither ‘The End“ or my review is going to be your cup of tea.

There have been hints from the beginning some state of purgatory was in play. Looking back, I recall Jack telling Kate their past lives no longer mattered, Desmond’s frequent, “See you in another life,” and the whispers being the souls of those trapped beyond redemption. It clicked for good in the first few minutes of “The End” when Kate snickered at the name Christian Shepard . He was to shepherd souls into the afterlife.

I note things were not that straightforward. It wound up being more Egyptian mythology than Christian theology. Given the hieroglyphics, ankhs, and the goddess of fertility Arawet, it comes as o surprise The Egyptian goddess Ma’at is the ancient Egyptian concept of order, balance, and justice--also recurring themes in Lost. Ma’at was personified as a goddess whose original purpose was to prevent the world from plunging into chaos, but later evolved into weighing the value of souls trapped in the underworld. Her favor determined whether the condemned could reach paradise. the important part was their actions on the island redeemed them.

So that is what the flash sideways was. A temporary stop for those found worthy before heading off to paradise. It makes sense when you pay attention to what Christian told Jack about some dying before on the island and some dying after. Everyone met up at the church at the age they were at on the island no matter what age they truly died. You can use your own imagination as to how the survivors’ lives played out.

In the same regard that I am not going to pick nits about answers, I am not going to blow by blow recap events and dissect them to death. Suffice to say, events paralleled either past island events such as Kate helping Claire give birth to Aaron or events had the opposite results. My favorite was the point where Jack through DarkLocke off the cliff. He was twisted in such a way his spine had to be broken. Simultaneously, Jack repaired Locke’s spine in purgatory. It all served as a love letter to longtime fans. Seeing long dead characters return to be reunited in eternity

The book ending of Jack’s eye popping open in the pilot to him closing it for the last time in the final scene with Vincent laying beside him. Perfect. I was already tearing up because of Jack’s last talk with his father when the story of Lost became perfectly clear.

I wonder how many people thought immediately back to the scene in the fourth season in which Hurley split his canny bar with Ben when Hurley became the island’s protector with Ben as his close advisor.

For six years, Lost has been an incredible experience for me. It has not all been great, but so may of the themes about reflections upon life, fate, and redemption have been issues I have had to deal with in my own life. I discovered Lost just a few months after my health took its irreversible down hill journey. While I cannot assign it undue influence--theology and philosophy have done a much better job, I do not dismiss the fact certain character arcs have hit close to home. I am sad to see Lost go, but it was great while it was here.

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

Blogroll Spotlight XLV

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. As usual, these are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title.

Althouse--If You Are Going to Criticize the New Texas Curriculum, Get It Right.

Amusing Bunni's musigs--US election Ads Go Nuts

Belmont Club--Flower in a Crannied Wall

Camp of the Saints--The Spot On Quote of the Day

Classic Liberal--More on Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Non-controversy

Current--Discloe Act: Bloggers Beware

Daley Gator--Lt. Col. Allen West

Gorge's Grouse--Judging a Book by its Cover

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--Making Blogroll Additions

Jumping in Pools--Djou Wins in Hawaii (Barack Obama's home district.)

Left Coast Rebel--Is El Presidete for Real?

MAinfo--Tom McClintock to Felipe Calderone: Butt Out!

Musical interlude: Lost, my favorite television show, is airing its series finale tonight. This is an old music video, but still one of my favorite fanmade compilations: Other McCain--Beware Geeks Bearing Cheap Coondoms

Paco Enterprises--Commies Continue to Get a Free Pass

Proof Positive--Sunday Funnies

Six Meat Buffet--Liberal Thank You Notes.

Teresamerica--Ex-PLO Terrorist Says Obama is Culturally a Muslim

Troglopundit--ObamaCare: Not as Seen on Television?

Voting Under the Influece--Top 9 Political Things That Really Tick Us Off

Washington Rebel--The Center Holds

Deep Space Nine--"In Purgatory's Shadow"

“In Purgatory’s Shadow” and the next episode are an attempt to recapture the feel of “Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast” with mized success. But I think that is only because the bar is set so high.

The Federation has decided to seal off the wormhole. Garak, still holding out hope of finding survivors from the failed joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar attack on the Founders, heads into the Gamma Quadrant with Worf for one last look. The chemistry between the two is not as good as between Garak and Odo. Garak had a better connection of being exiles from home with Odo than Worf, whose honorable warrior spirit cannot connect with the sneaky, clandestine acts Garak is so found of. If their relationship was not played as comical, it would be insufferable.

The two wind up captured by the Jem Ha’dar ad taken to a secret military base ear the wormhole. There they discover the real Bashir was replaced a month prior by a Changeling and that Martok is still alive. They all know that it is imperative to escape because a military base this close to the wormhole can only mean the Dominion is preparing to invade the Alpha Quadrant.

But that is not the heart of the episode. The real heart is the interaction between parents and children. Garak discovers Tain is still alive, though he is dying. Tain finally admits he is Gara’s father before he makes Garak promise e will escape and avenge his death. Garak agrees. Back on DS9, Dukat is returning to Cardassia and wants Ziyal to return with him. she refuses, because she is waiting for Garak to return. Rntaged she has feelings for his enemy, Dukat disowns her, hinting that she has doomed herself.

We discover what he means when the wormhole opens and a huge fleet of Dominion ships enters the Alpha Quadrant

“In Purgatory’s Shadow” isa decent episode, but I have two nitpicky problems. One, why is Martok not completely dishonored by what happened to him? Supposedly, being taken as a POW is a dishonor that spans two generations in a family, but hewill still be highly honored when he returns to the Empire. Two Bashir is I one of the old style uniforms to emphasize he has been held prisoner awhile, but that also means, according to him, he fell asleep in his uniform. Is that not odd? Stranger still, the Changeling that replaced him performed brain surgery on Sisko and either would not or could not save the baby Changeling. Weird.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

All Time Favorites # 9--Evangeline Lilly

True confession: while it was a happy accident Carrie Fisher wound up ranked on the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, Evangeline Lilly comes in at # 9 deliberately on the same day as the Lost series finale. She definitely deserved to be in the low end of the top ten, so no one is getting cheated. Call it proof that ranking hot babes is not an exact science.

Lilly is the first of three Canadians I the top ten (So much for a Southern belle motif. Have I betrayed the Glorious South?) and the second actress from Lost on the list. She plays fugitive Kate Austen. I will be the first to admit I am not a particular fan of her character. Kate is emotionally shallow and catty. But she has an endearing habit of frequently cavorting about in her underwear.

Being stranded on a remote Pacific island does necessitate a natural beauty which Lilly pulls off wonderfully:Regardless of my ambivalence towards Kate, I like Lilly a lot. She is from a small town she could not wait to leave even though she has fond memories of her childhood. She studied international relations in college. She is a devout Christian who did missionary work in the Philippines before deciding to become and actress. In spite of my joking about her underwear cavorts, Lilly refuses to do nudity or gratuitous sex scenes because of her faith.

She is a free-spirited type who has said she may stop acting after Lost rides off into the sunset. Too bad we may not be seeing much of her any longer, no?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Doctor Who--"The Hungry Earth"

Why must every episode of the Steven Moffat era be reminiscent of one from the Russell T. Davies era? I imagine I would have liked “The Hungry Earth” must better had it not reminded me of the far superior “The Impossible Planet” from 2006. I understand the good doctor has been around for 47 years now, so there is not a whole lot of room for originality, but could they go back a little further than four years to mine for story ideas.

No pun intended with that mining line, because the plot revolves around two married scientists and their family drilling deep into the Earth because they have discovered an area with unusual blue grass. (Blue grass? I will bet it is all Rand Paul’s fault.) Their drilling winds up disturbing the Silurians, an underground race of lizards who once ruled the Earth. The Silurians kidnap Amy and the youngest kid in the family along with the fellow they took in the teaser. The Doctor travels down below to rescue them, but discovers an army ready to invade the surface world.

The plot is…adequate. It is rather predictable because we have seen it so recently in “The Impossible Planet.” A group of scientists feel an area calling to them to drill. They do and discover an ancient menace ready to conquer everything in it path. The big difference is the cast off one off players in ’The Impossible Planet’ were multidimensional and interesting in their own right. In ’The Hungry Earth,” the cast exists to give the Doctor something to bounce exposition off. This is a talky episode, too. There are only a couple action scenes which are quick and soon lost in a torrent of techno babble dialoguer.

I am not familiar enough with British celebrity personalities to know who Meera Syal is, but there appeared to be some excitement as to her guest role. Color me under whelmed, but I was also disappointed with Catherine Tate’s first appearance, yet wound up thinking she made a fine companion once she abandoned her screeching sketch comedy personality and started acting instead. Perhaps Syal has the same problem. If a Googling Wholigan reading this cars to weigh in, it would be much appreciated. For my money, she does not strike make an interesting temporary companion.

Lord bless Karen Gillan and her wonderful legs. That miniskirt she was wearing makes up for a whole lot of shortcomings. Too bad she was kidnapped so early on. Her absence was sorely felt none of the actors really stepped forward to fill the void. The Doctor had to carry the load himself. Fortunately, Matt Smith is shaping up to be a fantastic doctor. Maybe even my favorite.

Why does he not appear terribly familiar with the Silurians? He has met them twice before. Fine make up job on them, though. I have to note that since I have complained about the cheap CGI aliens we have had to suffer through up until now. You just cannot beat a latex mask, even in these days of fancy computer imaging.

“The Hungry Earth” was not bad, just under whelming. I cannot say it was even a lot of set up for a more exciting second part, although the preview does look promising. The episode was all about meandering to get to the cliffhanger and Amy’s legs. It could have been so much more. The episode was penned by frequent Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall. Considering how many episodes of that show were subdued for budgetary reasons in its early run, that may explain, his presence may explain “The Hungry Earth”’s anorexia.

Rating: *** (out of 5)