Saturday, July 31, 2010

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around LIX

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

Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA LVIII.

No Sheeples Here! links i her Sumpthi' 4 Mutton.

Daley Gator links to Jeri Ryan.

The Other McCain links to Naomi Watts.

The Classic Liberal links to Ahmadinejad Attacks Paul the Octopus.

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 Battlestar Galactica # 9--Favorite Cylon

My favorite Cylon is Cavil.

You thought I was going to say Six, right? Just goes to show I do ot always think with my hormones. Most of the time, yes, but not always.

I will confess the change in Cavil’s character over the series from one of many sinister Cylon to the mastermind villain did not feel like it was planned from the beginning, but it was still pulled off well. Dean Stockwell makes a good villain.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of a Thousand Eyes"

Our heroes face a blinded former riverboat captain named Ansel Coffin who has been sinking cargo ships o the Mississippi River. Four federal agents have been killed in the ship attacks over the previous month. Coffin plans to blackmail the federal government into offering tribute for the safe passage of cargo.

Coffin is played by Jeff Corey, a veteran of science fiction and adventure shows from Star Trek to A-Tean to Babylon 5 and pretty much everything in between. He plays Coffin as a total loon who refuses as much as possible to give into his blindness. He has surrounded himself with items that will appeal to his other senses, including things like children’s toys, which gives him an even creepier vibe.

Coffin is still not one of the more memorable villains of the series. The climax in which Jim is temporarily blinded and ha to fight Coffin on his terms is predictable. What is not so predictable is that Jim’s sight returns, so he finally gets Coffin dead to rights. I suppose it would have been corny if he had bested Coffin in a blind duel, but what really happened does not seem all that sporting.

The episode has a few contrivances that are annoying. One of the killed federal agents’ daughter shows up, offers clue to Artie, then is never seen or heard from again in spite of her wanting to kill Coffin personally. Coffin’s girlfriend does not speak until midweek through the episode because there is something wrong with her voice, but then she will not hush through the remainder. Both Jim and Artie are going to let an assassin who tried numerous times to kill them both off the hook because she is a pretty girl. Never mind how angry they were originally she was part of the cadre who killed their fellow agents.

The episode does not work too well. It is not horrible, but it feels the first half and these cod wherewith by different writers who never had a meeting of the minds. Emotion run high for the main characters early on, then completely evaporates as the episode winds down. Very disappointing.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Billie Piper

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 8--Favorite Starbuck Scene

My favorite Starbuck scene is from “Occupation.” the New Capricans have been living under occupation for five months. Starbuck has been forced to play house with Leoben. In the scene after the one in the above photo, she kills him, and casually goes back to eating, resigned to the knowledge he will be resurrected into a new body to torment her more. You get the impression she has done this any number of times already.

It is bitterly funny and horrific at the same time.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Casual Killer"

“The Night of the Casual Killer” follows yesterday’s theme of giving Artie a more proactive role in the adventure. As a bonus, he and Jim are undercover as a traveling minstrel show, so Jim even has to take a beating from some roughnecks and be saved by arte I order to main the ruse. It is definitely an Artie show. Ross Martin not only show off his hammy acting chops, but plays the violin twice.

Our heroes are assigned to find a former corrupt associate of Ulysses S. Grant named John Avery who has enough dirt on the president’s administration to warrant his capture. Fortunately, he has killed 22 cavalrymen who first tried to bring him back to Washington, so there actually is a good reason to arrest him other than political embarrassment. Considering how corrupt the Grant administration was in the first place, Avery must have been associated with some seriously nasty stuff.

Avery is played by John Dehner. He was a character actor who played either a cowboy, criminal, cop, military officer, doctor, lawyer, or politician in just about every sitcom or drama series you would care to name from the late ’50’s until his death in 1992. He plays Avery as a formidable villain who is cunning enough to be one step ahead o Jim and Artie at every turn, including durig the climactic escape from the mining town he has taken over.

The prerequisite pretty girl Avery has control over is played by Ruta Lee. She is probably most famous for her role on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but she is still active in movies and television today at the age of 74. She has maintained a certain Eartha Kitt charm in her golden years.

Lee plays Laurie Morgan, an ex-singer who apparently was not all that great since there are deliberate attempts to keep her from doing so. Within my young frame of reference, she reminds me of Jessica Simpson. There is not only a slight resemblance, but lee plays her with that English as a second language mall speak enthusiastic clueless demeanor that you really hope Simpson is faking, but in your heart fear she is not.The climactic escape from town involves a mining car chase that is not exactly Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but is cleverly done for a low budget, ’60’s show. Avery makes for a good villain and an enjoyable show. It is also good to see Artie take the spotlight for once, even though he does not get the girl.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Jessica Simpson as American Idol Judge?

So the rumor goes. The funny thing is gossip sites are saying she would be replacing Simon Cowell when everyone knows the producers are only trying to repeat the spaced out, air head antic of Paula Abdul.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Formspring Question # 34--Alas, Babylon Edition

So you're a Babylon 5 fan? You should cover that series. What do you think about the third season cliffhanger? It is my favorite moment of the series
I have all five seasons of Babylon 5, but it is too much like Deep Space Nine for me to start up with anytime soon. I did like the series a lot, but I am not enthusiastic about watching it again.

As for the ending of “Z’Ha’Dum“--worth a thousand words:I was not as jaded when I first saw this back in 1996 as I am today, so I was shocked. You cannot tell from the YouTube clip, but John Sheridan, the hero of the story, sneaked a nuclear warhead into the capital city of the Shadows in a decapitation strike. It was essentially a terrorist act, even though it was clear the summit the Shadows invited him there for obviously had no peaceful intentions.

J. Michael Straczynski caused a stir when he told fans that in Sheridan’s position, he would have done the same thing. That is, kill a million innocent people along with the guilty leadership in order to stop a war that will kill billions.

I was one of those taken aback by both Sheridan’s act, because my na├»ve view of heroes would not allow such a thing, and JMS’ comment, because I still felt shades of gray morality was still black.

These days, it does not affect me emotionally at all. I am not certain if it is because I know more these days or because I have now done more than just take notes I a classroom, but Sheridan’s act seems a lot more reasonable now than then.

It could just be my attitude that pacifists are the enablers of evil. The actual quote from George Orwell replaces ’evil” with “fascists,” but I do not think he went far enough by saying that. Sometimes, you have to have the nerve to do nasty things for the greater good.

Watered Down Arizona Law Takes Effect

Better than nothing, no?

Ward v. Wilbanks

I am going to indulge in a little less hyperbole in discussing the ruling in Ward v. Wilbanks than many other Christian conservatives have been. Most are missing the point, but not by much.

Federal District Judge George Steeh, whom I must note for the purpose of forcing Project Savior’s panties in a wad is a Bill Clinton appointee, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University claiming religious discrimination. Ward was denied entry into the school counseling program because she would refuse to counsel homosexuals. In order to be licensed school counselor, Ward would not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation regardless of her personal belies.

Eastern Michigan University was well within its rights to deny her admission since she does not fit the requirement for professional licensing. Consider that most of the other graduates of the program are probably at least marginally Christian, there is no religious discrimination in this case. The university just is not going to waste time and resources on a student who refuses to accept professional responsibility from the get go.

I do not believe this amounts to the thought police instituting a No Christians Allowed policy. Ward herself would be allowed to believe homosexuality is a sin all she wished as long as she did not refuse to counsel homosexuals based o her belief. Unfortunately, that is what she opted to do in violation of the professional ethics of her chosen vocation.

This does encourage a certain “don’t ask, don’t tell” atmosphere about one’s religious beliefs in academic settings, but from personal experience, that has been the case for a long time, particularly if a Christian is in a science or philosophy class.

Truth be told, this is the right decision. What really gets me is Ward herself. Why is she pursuing a degree in which she will have to work in a secular environment when she is obviously adamant about pushing her sectarian beliefs?

I have a unique perspective on this, too. I have an undergraduate degree from the secular University of South Carolina and a law degree from Christian Regent University. The studet body of the latter was about a third graduates of Christian schools who had never and would never dare set foot inside a secular school. Once they discovered you had done so, you were not considered to be a real Christian until you offered up compelling evidence you never chanted from Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species while participating in ritualistic homosexual orgies I the name of Satan. You know, the kind of stuff that goes on at secular universities all the time.

Ward sounds like the type who would think that sort of thing. She would probably be better served getting a school counseling degree from somewhere like Regent university where she can network to find a Christian school to employ her which will better suit her sensibilities. The homosexuals are much deeper in the closet at Christian schools--until they get caught molesting boys. Regardless, Ward’s conscience would be clearer in such a place.

So why is she raising such a ruckus over not getting a career that would put her in an uncomfortable position, anyway?

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 7--Favorite Battle

My favorite battle is the Battle of the Resurrection Ship.

I have said quite a few times during my Deep Space Nine reviews, big CGI battles are not really my thing. There are nice to look at and effective when not as overwhelming as a George Lucas action sequence. I do not generally follow science fiction for the wow factor of special effects.

The Battle of the Resurrection Ship hit’s the right marks for me in terms of the right amount of CGI and human drama. The sequence is action packed, but not overwhelming and the image of severed Cylon body parts floating through space is an oddly chilling touch.

One thing about the entire battle is the underlying belief it is not necessary to fight it. Cain wants to destroy the Resurrection Ship in order to make the pursuing Cylons more cautious about attacking the Galactica and Pegasus. Without that ship, death will be permanent for them. Yet, the battlestars will be facing an overwhelming enemy that will take all their forces to confront.

It is not necessarily worth it, and the plan compels Adama to plot an assassination of Cain while she does the same against him. There is a lot going on outside on the actual battle, including the impending execution of Helo and Tyrol by Cain for intervenig to save Sharon.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of Sudden Death"

A group of lack clad acrobats break into the US mint in Carson City, Nevada to steal currency plates and replace them with forgeries while trying to make their caper look like an accident. The ruse does not fool anyone, so too ad for them.

Jim follows a lead from a pretty girl--did not see that coming, did you?--to a traveling circus run y big game hunter Warren Trevor, played by a young Robert Loggia. Trevor has stolen the plates so her can print up enough legitimate cash to buy his own country in Africa.

“The Night of Sudden Death,” so called because none of the mint workers were supposed to survive the “accident,” is a mixed bag. It is typical Wild Wild West fun, but did not quite utilized Travor’s big game hunting obsession in any logical way. I expected to see an homage to The Most Dangerous Game wherein Trevor wants to hut the famed Secret Service agent as the ultimate challenge. Instead, Trevor is your typical power hungry villain who wants to be a fly by night dictator.

He only uses his hunting skills in the end after Jim and Artie have foiled his plan by recovering the plates. There is only a brief struggle I which Trevor is thrown into a lake and eaten y an alligator. Considering one of the early action sequences was the same thing happening to Jim with the exception Jim’s alligator assailant did not survive the encounter, Trevor’s end does not speak well of his alleged mad big game hunting skills.

His fate does remind me of how much I expected Steve Irwin to eventually get eaten by a crocodile and found it deflating he met his fate by in a freak accident by a sting ray. Krikey, the indignity!.

It should not surprise you there is plenty of philosophizing that man is the only animal who kills for sport and is somehow lesser in the natural world for it. Well, we have opposable thumbs and can alter our environment, so there to suit our needs. Plus, we are the only creatures on Earth aware of our own mortality, so we have foresight. Take that, animal kingdom!

This is the first episode in which Artie acts like a full partner to Jim rather than just serving as the gadget man who shows up in a goofy disguise at the climax. Although he does the latter here and makes one very disturbing clown. Artie is the one who recovers the plates and torches the money while Jim turns Trevor into gator vittles.

“The Night of Sudden Death” is worth watching, but not a classic. Trevor does not live up to the promise of villainy he is supposed to be. Oh, and in spite of Robert Conrad’s claim he did all his own stunts, it is pretty obvious that is not him being ambushed from above by an acrobat in the first act. Our little secret, I guess.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Alessandra Torresani

Not strayig too far from our Caprica post yesterday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Federal Judge Blocks Key Parts of Arizona Immigration Law

Sort of a surprise, but probably should not be considering the low esteem in which state sovereignty is held these days. The Arizona law is identical to federal law, so this Bill Clinton appointed has confirmed the mercurial whims of the ruling class trump the rule of law.

Expect further proceedings, but not so much a different outcome unless an appeal reaches the SCOTUS. Maybe not then, either. It will likely depend on whether Anthony Kennedy is feeling like the center of the universe that day.

Meanwhile, foreign lawbreakers are being favored over Arizona citizens by our government. Weir and illogical, but true. Illegal immigrants are allowed to run free in the United States because the feeds have decided enforcing its own laws is racist.

Touchy feely, "enlightened" government, anyone?

Senate Democrats Lack Support to Reform Filibuster Rules

A quiet victory for minority rights, that.

I never supported the idea of ending the so called “nuclear option.” it has been aroud for decades. I its lifetime, it has well served its purpose--tempering the more excited passions of populism.

That is what the Senate was supposed to do in the first place. Senators were originally intended to be intellectual, elder statesmen types appointed by the state legislatures to keep the more prone to populist whims House in check.

The Seventeenth Amendment allowed for the popular election of Senators, so the filibuster is about the only throwback to the Founding Fathers’ original intent.

I hate to sound like an elitist, but I would advise repealing the Seventeenth Amendment today’s Senate is full of a bunch of rich ladies and gents who won statewide popularity contests, not any professional seal of approval. The sheer fact some root loop like Alvin Greene has the nomination for Senate from a major state party is enough to make one consider getting rid of popular elections for the office.

SyFy Announces Battlestar Galactica Webisodes Called Blood & Chrome

SyFy has announced ten short webisodes totaling about one hundred minutes of story featuring a young Bill Adama’s adventures during the First Cylon War will hit the channel's website.The webisodes may serve as a backdoor pilot to a series about the First Cylon War, which is what fans wanted Caprica to be in the first place.

Several points make me think Blood & Chrome is a way of testig the waters for a change to Caprica. First, SyFy has delayed the second half of Caprica‘s first season until January. Second, Ronald D. Moore has expressed cautious optimism there will even be a second season, but is uncertain as late as last weekend. Finally, Moore went on record last spring there was not enough story to maintain Caprica original Dallas with Robots premise.

Add these three points together. I think you will draw the conclusion either Caprica is going to shift gears towards the First Cylon War story or it is goig to be canned in favor of a Blood & Chrome series that. I will concede we may wind up with both, but somehow, I doubt SyFy is going to go for two series running simultaneously when one is a prequel to the other.

I like Caprica, but I note that I did not get upset to learn its return was going to be postponed from October to January. There is no particular sense of anticipation on my part. It is just a show I am willing to watch. Talk about killing with faint praise. Like may fans, I was hoping for a more action oriented war story. Blood & Chrome sounds like a course correction n that direction.

The thing is that after reviewing every episode of Deep Space Nine and seeing how it handled the Dominion War story, I have a new perspective o aseries focusing o the duration of a single conflict throughout its run. I liked the Dominion War arc. I think it is the best Trek ever featured, but it was not without its flaws. Somewhere I the fourth ad fifth seasons, the story got lost in the Klingon-Federation War which never really materialized to any level of satisfaction. There was a lot of pointless meandering before getting back on track for the final two seasons to feature the war nearly exclusively. At that point, it felt overwhelming to cram so much ito so little time.

Babylon 5 did a fairly good job of running a huge war story through a season and a half, but the bookend seasons had a lot of dud stories with little contribution to the overall arc.

These war stories were told within a single series. What is going to happen with two series potentially dovetailing to tell parts of one story? What changes would Caprica have to make to its original arc? How much lead up would Blood & Chrome have to have for its story to be effective? Can either or both do it better than Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5? These questions have tempered my enthusiasm in Battlestar Galactica spin offs.

David Cameron Abandons Israel in Push for Turkey to Join the European Union

it did not take log for the new, center-right coalition government in the United Kingdom to lose favor in my eyes. In a speech regardig Turkey's potential membership in the European Union, Cameron not only expressed an ignorance for the extremist brand of Islam that permeates the Turkish government, but blasted Israel for its containment of islamist terrorism in Gaza.

How cynical can a political leader get? Turkey’s government is not a secular ally of the west, but fast becoming a Taliban -esque extremist government which is fast becoming a detriment to western interests. Membership I the European Union is not going to change that, assuming Turkey is seriously about joining the European Union I the first place.

But that is all European and British pageantry. If Europe believes allowing Turkey into the club can stall Islamic extremism or create an ally to help keep Iran from getting the bomb, that is their pursuit. The same goes for the United Kingdom offering appeasement to various countries which are adamant supporters of Islamic terrorism. The spirit of Neville Chamberlain and all that rot.

But to attack Israel, the country’s longstanding ally in the Middle East y perpetuating the myth Gaza is being starved into submission is a blatant lie and betrayal for dubious political gain. Gaza just opened its first mega mall a week ago which attracted thousands of shoppers. These people are not starving, but claiming Israel is committing genocide is sadly politically advantageous, so Cameron went for it.

As I said, the political ramifications are Europe's problem, but I am reminded of a bigger issue besides political maneuverings. That is God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 21:31:
"I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you."
We already have to worry about this thanks to Barack Obama's animosity towards Israel and his inability to appreciate the evil that extremist Islam can bring.

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 6--Least Favorite Character

My least favorite character is Cally Henderson Tyrol. I never saw the appeal of her, but the powers that be had originally intended for her to be a named extra who was killed in “Bastille Day,” but decided to have her character survive an assault and expand her character instead.

But nothing she was expanded to is all that impressive. Even the hint she might have been one of the Final Five Cylons was met with little enthusiasm.

I especially never bought into her marriage to Tyrol. It was doomed from the beginning. Call it a personal bias, if you wish, but it reminded me of the quickie marriages I have seen from my Christian high school and Regent university School of Law. Those were tiny, fish bowl environments where the pickings were so slim, people settled for a spouse who was not all that great, but seemed fine amog the small number of choices. New Caprica was like that, too.

It is not that these prelateships were necessarily doomed, though quite a few have been, but that the couples were so clueless about the world of choices out there, they did not know the difference. Ignorance is bliss, but not to the outside observer.

I was thrilled when she got spaced.

Wild Wild West--"The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth"

Here we have a true classic in only the third episode. “The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth” marks the first of ten appearances of Michael Dunn as the demented genius Miguelito Loveless. He is, of course, my favorite villain in the series.

The episode also marks the first appearance of Richard Kiel as Voltaire. Kiel is better known for appearances as Jaws in the James bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. It is quite clear his role as Voltaire was a big influence I being cast as Jaws. Wild Wild West has been dubbed James Bond in the old west for good reason.

Jim and Artie are assigned to escort a professor who has invented powerful new explosive to Washington. The professor is killed is killed by the mysterious dwarf, Dr. Miguelito Loveless, who claims he invented the explosive first and has no intention of allowing it to be placed in the hands of politicians and generals or of some two bit professor taking credit for its creation, depending on which of Loveless’ expressed rationales you find more convincing. The fact he accepts both with equal veracity is one of the elements that make him such a great villain.

Loveless claims his grandmother used to own Southern California. It was stolen by the Spanish an later the Americans. He wants it back or he is going to use the explosive to kill 5,000 a week until it is his again.

Jim escapes a bird cage--yes, a bird cage--after convincing Loveless’ beautiful assistant to tell him where the explosive is set. He has a more difficult time suduig loveless in a church bell tower than he does the 7’ 1” Voltaire below. Go figure.

“The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth” is the only episode in which Loveless’ motivation is something as small as the return of Southern California. Later, he will be a world conquering type, at least expressly. But his real motivation will be besting Jim and Artie. An arch rivalry is born!

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Jessica Alba

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ahmadinejad Attacks Paul the Octopus

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the famed eight legged world Cup prognosticator of spreading Western propaganda and superstition. He also said Paul the Octopus is a symbol of Western Decay and decadence.

I checked twice to make sure this article was not from The Onion before i posted. it is from The Telegraph.

It takes a special kid of crazy to think that having a little fun with an octopus randomly picking soccer teams to win is black magic or some such. Even if Paul did make better predictions than Alexi Lalas.

Should we have Paul predict the outcome of the Israeli bombing of Iranian nuclear sites next?

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 5--Favorite Apollo/Starbuck Moment

I remember some of the buzz about the upcoming third season episode “Unfinished Business” was apprehensive. It was considered filler written from writer Michael Taylor. Fans feared it would be another “Black Market.”

How wrong we all thankfully were. “Unfinished Business” remain one of the high points of the series.

The episode deals with the lasting scars of the colonists time on New Caprica. Some of the tensio is obvious--there were people who collaborated with the Cylons and those who fought against them. Other rifts were more personal, such as the one between Apollo and Starbuck.

The premise is the colonists have set up a series of boxing matches in accordance with military tradition in which rank is irrelevant. Anyone can get in the rig with anyone else ad settle their differences. Starbuck and Apollo fight because she broke his heart on New Caprica. He professed love for her one night. She got a quickie marriage to Anders in the morning in response. So Apollo rushed out and got married to Dee, even though he does not love her.

Te two look like they are going to kill each other as they fight to an exhausted standstill leaning on each other in the center of the ring in an inadvertent embrace, they whisper that they missed each other. Anders and Dee both realize the two are still in love. So do we.

It is a touching moment in a bittersweet way

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Deadly Bed"

Now here is a unique animal--”The Night of the Deadly Bed” is named after an elaborate trap to kill Jim in the early part of the episode. It has nothing to do with the overall plot. The deadly bed in question has a spied canopy that falls just slowly enough to not only effectively take us to commercial, but give Jim enough time to emerge from a drag induced haze to escape. Convenient.

Did I mention he falls for the Mexican beauty that drugs and puts him there? She is a big part of the defeat of the villain’s master plan, too. Bet you did not see that coming, either.

Jim travels to a border town in order to meet with an informant. Unfortunately, the informant is killed in an explosion before he can tal to Jim. He only gets out one word--”Rosebud.”

No, wait. It is “Flory.” Sorry.

Jim follows his sole clue to a mission on the Mexican side of the border. Flory turns out to be the name of a French general wo has enslaved the local population into building a steam powered battering ram which will run along American railroad tracks, destroying the United States’ ability to move war material. Flory believes hecan take over Mexico with the United States stymied in such a way.

This is, perhaps surprisingly, historically accurate. The United States supported the fight of President Benito Juarez to repel French forces from Mexico, but could not do much to actively aid the effort because of the Civil War. Postwar, however, Andrew Johnson sent 50,000 American troops to the border to facilitate the free flow of war material to the Mexican army. It is no stretch to claim the American superior railroad system wasa bi factor I Mexico defeating the French by boosting Mexican supply lines.

Was is a stretch is that Flory is played by J. D. Cannon, an actor from Idaho whose sole French-ness is to end every sentence with mon ami. It could be worse, I guess.

“I keel yoo slowly weeth zees gun, Meester West.” you know what I mean?

Fun episode? Yes. It is patented Wild Wild West goofiness with a maniacal villain, elaborate death traps, and a high concept Age of Innovation device set to alter the course of history. Flory is not one of the more memorable villains, but he is a formidable foil for our heroes.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Angelina Jolie

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blogging Tip

When adding a frivolous new button to your blog, do not accidentally delete the counties of the world flag counter that has logged 300,000 visitors from all across the planet over the last year and a half.

Because that will be...irritating.

UPDATE: Called for at a time like this. Thanks, Kristina.

Oliver Stone: Jewish Control of Hollywood Prevents Hitler from Being Viewed in Context

Hollywood is about to face an anti-Semitism litmus test, assuming it I willing to take the opportunity. Somehow, I suspect it will not.

Oliver Stone, in an interview with The Sunday Times that the Jewish control of Hollywood has prevented filmmakers from portraying Adolf Hitler in context. He went on to say Hitler struck a much more devastating blow to the Russians than the Jews, yet the holocaust is considered the larger crime. Stone believes the Israel lobby controls the narrative with this powered influence, including running United States foreign policy.

Keep in mind Stone is making these claims sober to a newspaper while Mel Gibson asserted similarity-Semitic claims about the existence of the Holocaust and jews being the cause of all wars. Both men have made repulsive statements that ought to be soundly criticized publicly. But Gibson is a conservative, self-professed Catholic--one of the bad guys--while Stone is a progressive Buddhist--one o the good guys as far as Hollywood is concerned.

Will Stone rightfully face the consequences of his words or does Hollywood excuse such statements if they come from people who normally think the “correct” things? Bonus question--has Stone allowed himself enough wiggle room by bringing up the “Israel lobby” to get away with his statements?

Early indications are no on the former and yes on the latter. Like Roma Polanski, Stone makes films the Hollywood elite likes, so they are willing to literally look the other way because such indiscretions add color to creative genius. Or something like that. Sadly enough, there appears to be a rising anti-Israel bent among self-proclaimed intellectuals, perhaps due to the multicultural peacenik idea that the Islamic extremists’ war on America is our fault, so we really ought to bow and scrape to please them.

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 4--Favorite Musical Score

"Wander My Friends," composed by Bear McCreary and based on a traditional Irish war song.

English translation from Gaelic:

Wander my friends, wander with me

Like the mist on the green mountain, moving eternally
Despite our weariness
we'll follow the road
Over hill and and valleys
to the end of the journey

Come on my friends and sing with me
Fill the night with joy and sport
Here's a toast to the friends who have gone from us
Like the mist of the green mountain,
gone forever

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Inferno"

As promised or threatened, depending on your perspective, we begin covering Wild Wild West for the next several months. The series isa childhood favorite. Let us see if it stands up as well when I am 33 as it did when I was ten.

The first thing I note about the ilot is the tone of the show, from over the top villains with high concept schemes, elaborate gadgetry, and James West, suave Secret Service agent, always getting the femme fatale I the ed no matter how many times she has attempted to kill him are all present right off the bat.

The lovely lady in “The Night of the Inferno” is Suzanne Pleshette, better known for her role in The Bob Newhart Show:While it is clear Jim and Artemus Gordon have been partners for a time before, this episode is when they are first given the high tech train in order to make it to the western territories in a hurry. A Mexican revolutionary named Juan Manolo has been taking advantage of post-Civil War conditions to launch raids against American settlements out west with the hopes of reclaiming territory lost in the Mexican War. Our heroes are to find Manolo and his cache of weapons, supposedly enough to wage full scale war.

Jim finds his way with the help of a fat Chinese who leads him to Lydia, one of many old flames Jim will run into over the course of the series. The arsenal is hidden in her wine cellar. It does not look all that impressive, honestly. I guess it did not take much to run off American settlers. Frazzled from the Civil War, perhaps?

Jim is captured by whom he suspects is Manolo, but escapes the jail cell in the wine cellar--does not everyone have one of those?--through the use of lock picks and a smoke bomb that miraculously was not discovered when he was searched even though two knives and a wrist gun were. Lots of gadgets right off the bat.

The Mexican general turns out to not be the big man. Instead, Manolo is Wing Fat, the Chinese informant from the beginning of the episode, in disguise. Manolo disguised himself as a Chinese merchant because no one would suspect him o being a Mexican revolutionary. Except Jim, of course, who knew all along because Wing Fat was too tall and fat to be a Chinese.

Do I really need to elaborate on how uncomfortable that whole plot twist sounds these days? The great Victor Buono, who will later play the recurring villain Count Manzeppi, portrays Wing Fat with less than subtle hints of Charlie Chan. The mid-60’s were a whole other world, no?

“The Night of the Inferno” is not one of the more popular episodes in the series, but it does a good job of setting the tone. Far better episodes will come along down the line. But it is a good start.

Rating: *** (ut of 5)

Reese Witherspoon

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Formspring Question # 33--Boy Howdy Edition


Blogroll Spotlight LIV

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--I Am a Liberal-I Hate Violence-But Sometimes...

Amusing Bunni's Musigs--Chicago Descends into Anarchy.

Belmont Club--Jurassic Farce.

Camp of the Saints--Small Comfort.

Classic Liberal--Government Parasites.

Current--Glenn Beck v. Keith Olbermaann.

Daley Gator--Weekend Linktacular.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--The Star Trek Stimulus Doomsday Machine

Jumping in Pools--Sarah Palin Leads in Iowa.

Large Regular--A History of Philosophy.

Left Coast Rebel--Air Show Pilot Ejects Moments Before Crash. (Video)

LiberalGuy--The Sherrod Charade.

MAinfo--Our Modern Depression: Unemployment at 22%.

Jobs, you say?Mind Numbed Robot--Obamacare Exposed!

No Sheeples Here!--Ann Coulter v. Rick Sanchez.

Other McCain--Morgan Freeman: Genius.

Paco Enterprises--Sunday Funy.

Right Wing Extreme--Immirants today and then.

Silent Majority--North Korea Threatens to Nuke US Forces.

Sniper--Cops--Amish Edition.

Teresamerica--No Mosque at Ground Zero.

Troglopundit--What's Lindsay Graham Look Like in a Miniskirt?

Washington Rebel--Character Reflections.

Wolfe Reports--The Alvin Greene Crazy Train Rolls On.

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 3--Favorite Scene

There are many to choose from, but other favorites fit in better with future questions. For now, the "pop and drop" maneuver Adama pulled off rescuing the citizens of New Caprica in "Exodus, Part II" is about as cool as it gets.

Deep Space Nine--"What You Leave Behind"

Six months of viewing ad reviewing all comes down to this--the final episode of my favorite Trek series. The series goes out the same way it came in. By and large, the emphasis is on the non-Federation characters and their skepticism with the Federation in general. The running theme is one of the reasons I liked the series so much. Deep Space Nine was the most alien, yet the most human of the Trek series simultaneously.

The DS9 crew, sans the absent Kira, prepare to take part I the invasion of the Cardassian Union. As with virtually every preplanned finale, the characters have major changes lined up once their mission is complete. Bashir and Exri have hooked up after deciding they would just befriends. O’Brien will head off to Starfleet Academy as a professor of engineering. The rest have to wait for fate to catch up.

As the Alliance heads for the border, I cannot help but feel the tension there is not as great as with Damar’s revolution o Cardassia. Citizens have begun rising up as Kira anticipated. The uprising has the Dominion o the defensive as they have to pull back their forces to handle the ensuing chaos. I have never been one who gets excited at the huge space battles anyway. Ot that the invasion of Cardassia is not a magnificent CGI presentation for the time period.

The Female Changeling realizes all is lost fairly early in the battle, so she decides to order the extermination of all Cardassians as punishment. Then Weyoun broadcasts the genocidal orders o a general frequency to all Jem’Hadar forces, but where everyone can hear the orders--including the Cardassian military. Naturally, they turn o the Dominion at that point and begin attacking the Jem’Hadar ad Breen along with the Alliance. I understand the Female Chagelinng decided o a scorched Earth strategy that even in defeat would mean high casualties for the Alliance, but what is the wisdom in announcing the plan to ill every civilian while the military is still fighting on her side? It is amazing the Dominion has stood for 2,000 with geniuses like her in charge.

Although Damar is sadly killed in the attempt, Kira, Garak, and the rest of his rebellion break into Dominion headquarters ad take the Female Changeling hostage. Garak kills Weyoun. It is about darn time. But the Female Changeling refuses to kill off her forces, either fighting the Alliance or committing genocide of Cardassians. Odo beams down from the Sao Paulo to convince her otherwise.

Remember in yesterday’s review I said the Federation’s refusal to give the cure for the virus to the Founders would end far less cynically than it sounded? Odo opts to give the Female Changeling the cure in exchange for an armistice. She agrees. She will also surrender herself to the Federation if he agrees to take over her role as leader of the Dominion. He agrees.

Odo and the Female Changeling come to terms by reaching the same conclusion the series itself has bee headed towards--the Federation has flaws, but it tries to do the right thing. Note the Federation is saved by saved by non-members Odo, Kira, and Garak in spite of itself.
Events unfold quickly as the military pullback, peace treaty signing, and victory party all appear to take place on the same afternoon as the invasion in the first place. No one wants to waste any time, I suppose. Add to this peculiar sense of time passage the final journey of Dukat ad Kai Win into the fire caves to reawaken the Pah’Wraiths. I suppose it is not all happening simultaneously, but that is what the episode leaves you to believe.

It assistor’s final destiny to defeat Dukat and the Pah’Wraith He is called upon to o so by the Prophets. The battle is so quick and Sisko commits to it unquestioningly that it almost feels anti-climactic rather than the culmination of the Emissary begun way back in the pilot. For that matter, Bajor never joins the Federation, either. Too much ambition in storytelling, not enough time to cram it all in. The problem did not start with Lost, no?

Sisko’s fate is left ambiguous as to all long he will have to stay with the Prophets. He is not dead, one assumes. Worf becomes ambassador to the Klingon Empire until he is inexplicably back in Starfleet and on the Enterprise in Nemesis. Garak slip off to ‘enjoy” the end of his exile among the 900 million dead Cardassians. Odo breaks off his implausible to begin with romance with Kira to take his place among his people. Kira rejects her Starfleet commission--another sign Bajoris not keen on joining the Federation and assumes command of DS9.

I am bit misty eyed, because I do love this show.

All told, the finale wraps up the series quite well. As I said, the aliens have always been the most interesting characters and they take front and center I the resolution. The rivalry between Sisko and Dukat, though feeling a bit rushed here, is resolved satisfactorily. Cardassia reaps what it has sown over the years. The Bajorans are just as disagreeable ad uncooperative as the French.

I am going to surprise everyone ad give “What You Leave Behind” only four stars. It is a emotional finale to my favorite Trek, but it has flaws. Some things are left hanging, such as Bajor’sadmission to the Federation or why the Breen wear refrigeration suits,, while some things are resolved way to quickly, like the Sisko/Dukat brawl. But overall I am happy. Nothing else I trek since has quite topped DS9.

Rating; **** (out of 5)

Anna Paquin

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Last Week at Apocalypse Cinema

Reviews for:

House of Sand and Fog
A Beautiful Mind
Mystery, Alaska

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around LVIII

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

Mind Numbed Robot links to Kristen Bell. The shell shocked Robot also icuded me in his Robo-Love Experiment # 2, which is not as dirty as it sounds even though he does threaten to poke my eye out.

No Sheeples Here! links i her Sumpthin' 4 Mutton Round Up

Daley Gator links to Naomi Watts Daley Gator also links to Dania Ramirez.

Off on a Tangent appreciates the hot babes.

MAinfo links in her Monday Gratitude.

Classic Liberal links to Candice Swanepoel and Julia Stegner.

Washington Rebel liks as he celebratesa goodweek.

Troglopundit wats Jeri Ryan. Okay:Never let it be said I do not deliver.

The Current links to "Letting the Days Go By."

Mudville times links to BlogNetNews is Kaput.

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 Battlestar Galactica # 2--Favorite Male Character

My favorite male character is Lee “Apollo” Adama.

While I certainly have not spent my life trying to please my emotionally absent father, I do otherwise relate to Lee. He is a stickler for rules, particularly I matters of honor and loyalty. Yet he knows when the rules have to be broken.

He never catches a break I love or life. Like Lee, I want to be a lawyer, but life has screwed me over at every turn no matter how close I have gotten. But I go on anyway, because that is what we are supposed to do.

Deep Space Nine--"The Dogs of War"

The penultimate episode of DS9 sets the stage for tomorrow’s series finale while wrapping up the fate of the too long absent Ferengi. It is too bad Quark and Rom got lost I the shuffle during the last few episodes. Doubly bad their last hurrah was one of those awful mirror universe stories.

Odo is recovering from his virus when he is informed by Sisko that he had been infected by the virus and spread it to the Founders, not the other way around. Although Starfleet does not officially condone Section 31’s actions, they have opted to not give them the cure since it would strengthen their hand in the war. Odo muses this is not a military operation, but genocide. Nevertheless, he realizes that the Federation is more than happy to look the other way when a less than savory action they would normally be appalled by is to their advantage.

Hey, it is us or them, right? Arguably, yes. We will see tomorrow how that does not necessarily play out so cynically.

Damar, Garak, and Kira had to Cardassia Prime in order to meet up with military leaders who want to join their rebellion. Unfortunately, it is a Jem’Hadar ambush which the three narrowly survive. The Dominion crushes eighteen rebel bases I one swoop in order to end the revolt. As the three hide out in the basement of Garak’s boyhood home, Kira and Garak pump up the dejected Damar into stirring up a citizen’s revolt.

That one will end cynically.

Fially, the Grand Nagus decides Rom should replace him. The comedy here is that Quark misunderstands the message and thinks it is going to be him instead. No such luck. The writers are being a little too cute by promoting a lunk head like Rom. The guy may be an idiot savant when it comes to technology, but he is Alvin Greene when it comes to politics. (There isa Rom action figure out there, is there not?) He is supposed to be a progressive reformer and that is all that counts, I suppose.

The Alliance decides to take advantage of the Dominion’s increasingly defensive posture to launch what will be a very bloody invasion of the Cardassian Union just as sisko learns Kassidy is pregnant. The Prophet’s dire warning Sisko must walk his path alone casts an ominous shadow over the joy.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Miranda Kerr

Friday, July 23, 2010

Letting the Days Go By

With all due respect to the Talking Heads:We are also on "A Road to Nowhere," are we not?

(Via: Ace of Spades)

Thirty Days of Battlestar Galactica # 1--Favorite Female Character

My favorite female character is Laura Roslin.

She is such a rich, complex character with the best story arc on the series. I like how she evolves from a true believer who will take ay steps to do what she thinks is right, even if it is shady, to losing faith in herself, but finally finding redemption by the ed.

It is tough for actresses Mary McDonell’s age to land a role like Roslin in the youth obsessed entertainment industry. Usually, a character like Roslin would have either been an oversexed vamp or an old battleaxe. She managed to play the role asa real perso with real se appeal. No exaggerations.

Top notch.

Deep Space Nine--"Extreme Measures"

Wherein Bashir lies to Starfleet, kidnaps Sloan, uses an illegal device to interrogate him, and inadvertently leads to his suicide, all while ignoring the irony he is using Section 31’s dirty tactics in order to eliminate Section 31’sdirty tactics. The episode isa heavy-handed attempt to muss Bashir’s hair a bit, but lacks the self-awareness to effectively pull it off.

Time is running out for Odo, so Bashir decides to go with O’Brien’s plan of lying to Starfleet about finding a cure for the Changeling virus with the assumption someone from Section 31 will show up to destroy it. When that happens, Bashir can get thecure from him.

The plan involves a few implausible assumptions:

1. There is a cure.
2. The operative who shows up knows the formula.
3. Failing that, knows someone who does.
4. Said operative will not just destroy the lab to eliminate the cure.
5. There is enough time to fid and administer the cure even under the best of circumstances.

Since I m not a genetically enhanced super genius, I will just go ahead and assume I am too dense to see how beautifully effective this plan is.

Sloan does show up. Bashir shoots him, then opts to use the illegal Romulan mind probes to find the formula in Sloan’s mind, because field agents always know such things. Sloan triggers the 24th ceturyersion of a Cyanide pill. Bashir caot revive him. He can only put him on unconscious life support for a short period of time. He and Bashir literally go traveling inside Sloan’s mind to find the formula.

Sloan’s mind is a surreal, complex trap designed specifically to stall Bashir by at various times appealing to his idealism, his friendship with O’Brien, and his overwhelming compulsion to be a hero. The sequence is the best part of the episode. Even near death and trapped inside his ow mind, Sloan plays Bashir like a fiddle. It is only the unplanned influence of O’Brien that allows the mission to be successful.

For those of you attached to the O’Brien/Bashir friendship, there is scene made especially for you. When the two believe they are dying at one point, O’Brien finally admits an agape love for Bashir. Well, there you go.

Odo is successfully cured. I thought what might have bee his last moments with Kira were not as moving as they could have been since they were such a small part of the episode, but I have been skeptical of their romance period.

The abrupt end to Section 31’s involvement in the series is a bit jarring, too. I am more forgiving about that since I am not as adverse to the organization’s existence as the show wants meto be. I agree with Sloan I one sense--idealists like Bashir just as surely as pacifists are the enablers of tyranny. The big drawback is Bashir comes around to Sloan’s way of thinking when he is desperate to save Odo, yet not only pretends he does not, but still loathes others wo take extreme measures for the greater good. Bashir’s blinders a big reason I ave never cared much for the character.

I have been brutal I my critique, but I actually like “Extreme Measures,” although I will concede it is the weakest of the final nine episodes of The Final Chapter. My fondness for it largely comes from William Sadler’s portrayal of Sloan. They should have utilized him more than just in a handful of appearances. He makes a good villain because he hasa compelling argument to justify his actions.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Julia Stegner

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why Was Alvin Greene Discharged from the Military?

No surprise--he is three fries short a Happy Meal.

The toy is probably not included, either, which would explain his idea of creating jobs by manufacturing action figures of himself. Every kid will want one. I bet it will have a kung fu grip for those special University of South Carolina co-eds to...uh..."use."

The article says Greene was discharged because he required a list of jobs to do on any given day, but was often incapable of following it. He did not understand the importance of doing a job right, so he was putting people at risk. So instead of letting Jack Nicholson order a code red, they discharged hi to avoid any potential legal posturing on the part of Tom Cruise.

Greene cannot focus on what needs to be doe, does not appreciate the value of doing tasks correctly, and brainstorms stupid ideas to serious problems. Sounds like the perfect Democrat to me. No wonder he got the nomination.

My Take on Sheryl Sherrod

I hate to go intellectually slumming here, but there really is no way to talk about this bruhaha without scrounging around the bottom of the dumpster. This whole Shirley Sherrod deal reminds me of the scene in The Running Man in which video of the future Guvernator was doctored to show him shooting unarmed civilians in a food riot when he was actually trying to stop authorities from opening fire. It was all about high ratings for television. Everyone wound up rooting for him in the end to uncover the truth.

None of this controversy would have happened if two things were different. One, journalists gained an ounce of professionalism and two, the Obama administration was less race obsessed.

Exactly how difficult is it to watch the entire video in question before running with a story? That sounds minimally competent to me. I am not just laming FOX news or conservative bloggers, either. Many media outlets ran with the story. This is not some racist, right-wing conspiracy. It is ignoring professional responsibility by journalists all around in order to get sexy story out there right now.

Nor would this have happened if there was not such a gung ho effort, which I am confident Barack Obama, by the NAACP to blanket accuse the Tea party movement of institutional racism. The administration fired Sherrod lickety split to keep her becoming a talking point for ’racists’ like Glenn Beck--the same Glenn Beck who immediately defended Sherrod

Let us face it, Sherrod is likely a race baiting socialist who is probably note the best person for her job. Yet Beck rightly wants her to have it back. So much for politics or race trumping fair play among powerful movement conservatives.

She will be fine, too, folks. Labor lawyers have been colliding with themselves trying to get in contact with her to offer legal services. She was an at will employee, but quite obviously fired in violation of public policy. Someone is going to et sued. More likely, Everyone is going to get sued. .

It also pays to ask--why is race a factor in the USDA aiding small farmers? Should not economic issues be far more important? Just asking.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 30--And in Conclusion...

“You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They both don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter facts to fit their views… Which can be very uncomfortable if you’re one of the facts that needs altering.”--Fourth Doctor

Deep Space Nine--"Tracking Into the Wind"

“Tracking into the Wind” is a nautical term meaning having to constantly alter course in order for the wind to catch the sails. It is highly appropriate for the three main stories running through the episode. Several main characters are forced to make big changes within themselves for the greater good.

First, Kira and the Cardassian rebellion she is training have to learn to work together. The difficulty is in how Kira is going back to her terrorist roots in order to effectively sabotage the Dominion War effort. The effort opens old wounds for the Cardassians with her, particularly Rucot, who vows to kill the Bajoran once the war is over because he believes her motivation for helping the rebellion is to kill as many Cardassians as she did during the occupation.

Their continued tensions weighs heavily on Damar, whose romanticized view of the occupation is shattered when he learns the Dominion have killed his family. Damar realizes what his people have done in the past, that Cardassia deserves to die, and kills Rucot himself beore he can eliminate Kira.

In spite of the animosity, Kira’s resistance cell successfully steals a Jem’Hadar ship with a Breen energy weapon installed for Starfleet to study.

Second, Worf is forced to make a fateful decision when he realizes Gowron has been forcing Martok into hopeless battles in order to diminish his status in the Empire. Gowron considers Martok a political rival. And a threat to his power. Worf tries to convince Martok to challenge Gowron, but he refuses out of misguided loyalty to is uniform. Finally, Worf does so himself and kills Gowron in an exciting round of personal combat. He abdicates his right to rule the Empire in favor of Martok.

As usual, we gloss over that whole Prime Directive thing, presumably because we are I a time of war, but it pays to note Worf also killed Duras, which indirectly allowed Gowron to assume power. So this is the second time Worf has brought about political change in the Chancellory by cold blooded murder.

Sisko does not freak out like Picard did, either. Just to note.

Finally, Bashir, desperate to cure Odo’s lethal virus, concocts a plan to lure Sloan to DS9 by claiming he has found a cure. So after all that rot about Federation ideals, he resorts to Section 31 tactics to get the job done. Big surprise, no?

Ratig: *** (out of 5)

Larissa Riquelme

Larissa Riquelme is a model from Paraguay who promised to run naked through the streets of the capitol, Asuncion, if the national team wo the World Cup. The team did not win in spite of the compelling motivation.

It is difficult to believe the North Korean team got sent to the slave mines while these guys can go about their business. Do they not care about the consequences of their great failure?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The JournoList Bruhaha

I have bee reading leaked excerpts with amusement. Equally amusing has been the reaction fro many conservatives. Yes, I do find spiking stories about Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitism and racism in order to help elect Barack Obama journalist malpractice. I also think joking about a government takeover of FOX news I order to silence the conservative viewpoint is grossly unprofessional for supposed objective journalists to be doing in a semi-public forum. Nevertheless, conservatives need to remember three points:

First, journalism attracts progressives, not conservatives. Journalism is a low paying, frivolous job. Particularly in these days of instant gratification through the internet, news becomes old almost instantaneously. Coservatives have no patience for such things. We want to build and produce things that will last while getting paid handsomely for it. So journalists are going to be mostly progressives.

Second, because journalists are almost all progressives, they are going to talk about progressive ideas with each other. Remember, no one fancies himself more savvy than a journalist does. When they get together I their circle jerk, they are goig to convince themselves their progressive ideas are the only true solutions to the world’s problems and push their agenda.

Finally, journalists have always covered for progressives. They kept quiet about JFK’s affairs. They helped hide FDR’s polio damage. They do not cover Robert Byrd’s history with the KKK. It is not just politicians, either. You hear next to nothing about Marti Luther King, Jr. between his “I Have a Dream Speech” and his assassination because I that time, he was inciting blacks to resist the Vietnam draft. It is not until someone is not progressive enough to suit them--i.e. Bill Clinton--that they will go after him.

In spite of all this, life goes on. Do not oversell the impact of this alleged progressive conspiracy with progressive journalists. As log as you have a decent crap detector, it is not all that important.

The Further Adventures of Your Intrepid Television Reviewer

You have no doubt noticed we are fast approaching the end of the DS9 reviews. I will cover the series finale on Sunday, which means we will be heading iota new series starting Monday. I was going to wait until August1st, but that falls on a Sunday. It does not seem right to start a new project on the slowest readership days of the week. I figured I should go ahead and reveal te plan now so everyone can have a few days to vent their feelings about what is coming next.

I have drawn the conclusion I inevitably thought I would as Ds9 wound down--the series took Trek about as far as it could go. Neither VOY, nor ENT could break any new ground. In fact, they did not even try. They were both awful, from VOY relying on Jeri Ryan’s cat suit for ratings to Brannon Braga admitting right off the bat there was no grand plan for ENT even though they had introduced an overall story arc. Sorry, but I cannot bring myself to spend the next nine months slogging through that stuff.

At least not right now. Later, perhaps, which is why I am going to compromise. I have already had comments expressing irritation I might skip VOY even though I promised poison pen reviews at best, so here is what I am going to do.

Starting Monday, I am going to cover an old non-Trek series. It lasted four seasons I its original run, so there is a smidgeon over one hundred episodes to cover. That should take up until late October or early November. After the break from Trek, I will probably be more inclined to tackle VOY.

Those of you who want to see VOY reviews are going to be happier with them After I have had a break from Trek as opposed to starting them now even with the wait. Although I have to reiterate--be careful what you wish for. I will eviscerate much of VOY when the time comes.

Now for the news you are really going to hate me for--I am going to review The Wild Wild West for the next three moths. It is a childhood favorite for which I have noticed there is very little online content, but does still seem to have favorable reactions from many folks. I am looking forward to digging into the complete series DVD set.

If you have not seen the show, take heart. It is James Bond in the old west, but nothing like the awful 1999 Will Smith movie. The show hasa fun, adventurous tone much like TOS, of which it was contemporary. In fact: the two shows are heavily connected by : creators and actors: Stick with me. You will like it.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 29--Who Should Be the Next Doctor?

I will go with James Callis.

He could play the Twelfth Doctor with a darker edge similar to how he played Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica. Callis has subsequently appeared I other science fiction genre shows like Flashforward and Eureka, so he might be willing to stick with it. Traveling in the TARDIS has to be more un than hanging out with Bridget Jones.

The only drawback I have is Callis might play a better Master than Doctor. But that is because most of my familiarity with him comes from his portrayal of Baltar who was far more like the master than the Doctor.

Chalk it up to my fondness of Deep Space Nine, but Alexander Siddig would be a ood choice, too. He has played characters in a couple of Big Finish audio dramas, but he has never played the Doctor himself. These days, Siddig bounces between character actor roles in the United States and the United Kingdom, with roles in 24, Syriana, Clash of the Titans, MI5, and Merlin. Who knows if he wats to be tied down on a long term series.

Deep Space Nine--"When It Rains..."

“When It Rains…” is the first half of the old saying, “When it rains, it pours,” meaning when bad things happen, they are terrible. The phrase is apt, considering all that happens to the characters involved.

O’Brien determines only Klionn ships have the capacity to withstand the Breen energy draining weapon that lead to the destruction of the Defiat. That means the Klingons are going to have to take on the bulk of fighting against the new and very powerful Dominion ally. As if that was not bad enough, Gowron shows up on DS9 to take command of the fleet away from Martok. He then proceeds to make very poor battle plans in the name of glory, but which will lead to obscene amounts of Klingon casualties.

Kai Winn is still uneasily allied with Dukat even after she learns his true identity. Their partnership dissolves when he is blinded in an attempt to read the book on the Pah’Wraith. Winn takes his affliction as a sign he has lost favor with the Pah’Wraith and boots him to the streets as a beggar.

In terms of narrative, Dukat’s blinding comes out of left field. It serves only to get him out of the picture. At least Winn has an excuse to disappear for a few episodes. Watching her study the book would be boring. In Dukat’s case, his disappearance is a matter of convenience. At least now he will discover whether Bajorans have the capacity to feel charity towards him.

Odo discovers the early signs of being infected with the Founder’s virus. Because of Starfleet medical’s stonewalling and the eventual arrival of fake medical records, Bashir figures out that Section 31 infected Odo during “Homefront/Paradise Lost” so that he would infect thereto the Founders. Now they are attempting to stall until the virus does its genocidal work.

The most interesting part of the episode is the story of Damar’s rising rebellion. Starfleet grants Kira a battlefield commission in order to covertly head to Cardassia to train Damar in guerilla warfare. Her commission is an unintended demotion. She is a colonel, so she ought to become the naval equivalent of captain. But she is made a commander instead. The factual error bugs me.

As does the lack of any mention of Ziyal. Damar killed her in cold blood. She was close to both Kira and Garak, who Obsidian Order experience makes him a lock to join in the rebellion, so there ought to have been a confrontation of sorts between them and Damar. Alas, there was much of nothing. One could argue circumstances warranted casting such feelings aside to handle the matter at hand, but I still feel cheated.

The role reversal of a Bajoran aiding a Cardassian rebellion as the latter get a taste of cosmic karma for all their similar misdeeds more than makes up for it. This aspect of the story harkens back to the early days of the series when the focus was heavily on the lingering animosity between Bajor and Cardassia. As much as I enjoy the Domiion War arc, I miss those days.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Adrianne Curry

The metal bikini never gets old. Neither does seeing Adrianne Curry wearing it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Reports to Jail Today

Today is the day Lindsay Lohan reports for her ninety day jail sentence. Evidently, she has very little grip on reality about the situation. Robert Shapiro resigned as her attorney yesterday. While he did not cite a rationale, it is not too difficult to figure out it is because she ha unrealistic expectations about avoiding jail.

Let that sink in a moment. Shapiro is a guy who had no problem aiding in the concoction of a mind bogglingly stupid conspiracy theory involving the LAPD forming a racist conspiracy to frame OJ Simpson, a famous football payer they admired for his actions on and off the field to get him off the hook for double murder. But he cannot handle Lohan.

Does not speak well for what a delusional little child she is no? Her stint in the pokey is not going to be like this, either:

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 28--Least Favorite Episode (New)

The worst episode of the revived Doctor Who is hands down “Fear Her” from the second season.

I understand the logistics of television production for the BBC requires the occasional small scale, budget saver episode. The trick of it is too see how well producers can disguise the fact a certain episode has a budget of $ 4.35. Sometimes, they do it stupendously well, such as with “Blink..” Other times, it isa dismal failure like “Fear Her.”

Let us face it, the whole episode is corny. A profoundly lonely alien child plans to kidnap the entire planet by drawing a picture of Earth. The Tenth Doctor save the day by using the 2012 London Olympic torch to start the alien spaceship up again. Then he takes it upon himself to light the torch so the games can begin.

This all starts with a gag about landing the TARDIS too close to a dumpster for the door to be opened.

So we have the have the entire planet threatened with the backdrop of the 2012Olympics, but the story mostly takes place on a council estate. It produces a cheap, tiny atmosphere that ruins the scope. When the time comes for the big moment, the lighting of the torch has the appearance of an elementary school play.

Yes, it is all bad.

Deep Space Nine--"The Changing Face of Evil"

“The Changing Face of Evil,” plays the double entendre of the replacement of the Cardassians by the Breen as the primary military force I the Dominion and the exposure of Dukat as the dark influence behind Kai Winn’s quest to reawaken the Pah’Wraiths.

The Breen begin their tenure as a Dominion power in earnest by attacking Starfleet headquarters on Earth. Even the Klingons are impressed with the audacity. They never tried anything so bold.

I have to confess seeing San Francisco burning back in 1999 when the episode originally aired was had far more of an emotional impact than any other time Earth has been threatened in Trek. Thee were serious consequences this time. In the post-9/11 world, it strikes me as terribly prescient, particularly in Starfleet’s reaction.

The Federation now has a new enemy it does not know how to fight. It has to rely on Damar, who has finally grown fed up enough with the Dominion treating his people like second class citizens, to organize a rebellion against the Dominion, which like the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

Fortunately, the United states did not lose a subsequent battle comparable to the Dominion retaking the Chimtaka system and destroying the Defiant in the process. Nevertheless, the story seemed a lot more innocent back then tha it does now under our new reality.

In terms of the series narrative, the Cardassians are about to become full circle. The Dominion will brutally stamp down on Damar’s resistance fighters thesame way they had the Bajoran resistance cells years before. Consider it the ultimate case of reaping what they have sown.

“The Changing Face of Evil” tightens the screws at just the right moment to make The Final Chapter even more compelling. It isa lot of set up of the big picture before we see the personal impact on various characters which is, in many ways, far more compelling.

Rating: *** (out of 5)