Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Big Bang Theory--"The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification "

bang season 4,Big Bang Theory,episode 2,Jim Parsons,Johnny Galecki,Kunal Nayyar,Simon HelbergI figured with Sheldon becoming the clear breakout character and Jim Parsons having been a shoo in for an Emmy, even more episodes were going to revolve around the character. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as he remains an caricature of a real person rather than be more humanized, but The Big Bang Theory has always been a ensemble series. Two Sheldon episodes in a row hints at Jumping the Shark. Just how long can the same shtick be repeated done?

The answer, at least or now, is…well, okay for now. Sheldon still comes up with unique and amusing weirdness Tonight, he has become obsessed with extending his own lifespan beyond the, if Sheldon and parsons are the same age, 94 years genetics estimates he will last. That is 24 years above the Biblically allotted three score and ten,. Not bad, but not good enough for Sheldon, who believes will just miss the window for technology allowing him to transfer his consciousness into a robot body.

So he begins a health nut regimen of rabbit food and exercise. The plan leads to two unfortunate fart jokes an penny in a tight outfit stretching provocatively before jogging with him. I guess the former is to be expected in a Chuck Lorre produced sitcom. As for the latter, at least Lorre understands Kaley Cuoco is a big reason guys tune in to the show.

Failing all else, Sheldon goes into full Howard Hughes mode by locking himself in his room while employing a mobile monitor of himself to go about his daily life. It does not seem any more antagonistic to his friends than normal until he injures himself scurrying out to meet Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, and sprains his ankle. The accident leads to Sheldon accepting he cannot make allowances for every possibility. The episode ends with another chorus of “Soft Kitty” did not see that coming, huh?

There we a few laugh out loud moments. Mobile Sheldon was also inspired. Stooping to not just one, but two fart jokes was something I hope we do not see more of. Wozniak, appearing as himself, was stiff even for a non-actor guest star. He only had three lines, but could not even play himself well. How did that happen? "TI figured with Sheldon becoming the clear breakout character and Jim Parsons having been a shoo in for an Emmy, even more episodes were going to revolve around the character. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as he remains an caricature of a real person rather than be more humanized, but The Big Bang Theory has always been a ensemble series. Two Sheldon episodes in a row hints at Jumping the Shark. Just how long can the same shtick be repeated done?

The answer, at least or now, is…well, okay for now. Sheldon still comes up with unique and amusing weirdness Tonight, he has become obsessed with extending his own lifespan beyond the, if Sheldon and parsons are the same age, 94 years genetics estimates he will last. That is 24 years above the Biblically allotted three score and ten,. Not bad, but not good enough for Sheldon, who believes will just miss the window for technology allowing him to transfer his consciousness into a robot body.

So he begins a health nut regimen of rabbit food and exercise. The plan leads to two unfortunate fart jokes an penny in a tight outfit stretching provocatively before jogging with him. I guess the former is to be expected in a Chuck Lorre produced sitcom. As for the latter, at least Lorre understands Kaley Cuoco is a big reason guys tune in to the show.

Failing all else, Sheldon goes into full Howard Hughes mode by locking himself in his room while employing a mobile monitor of himself to go about his daily life. It does not seem any more antagonistic to his friends than normal until he injures himself scurrying out to meet Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, and sprains his ankle. The accident leads to Sheldon accepting he cannot make allowances for every possibility. The episode ends with another chorus of “Soft Kitty” did not see that coming, huh?

There we a few laugh out loud moments. Mobile Sheldon was also inspired. Stooping to not just one, but two fart jokes was something I hope we do not see more of. Wozniak, appearing as himself, was stiff even for a non-actor guest star. He only had three lines, but could not even play himself well. How did that happen? "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification" was entertaining, but i hope the writers remember there are more characters besides Sheldon for future episodes.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Tony Curtis (1925-2010)

Jamie Lee Curtis confirmed this morning her father died last night of cardiac arrest in his Las Vegas home Wednesday night. This has not been a good week for Hollywood and the Grim Reaper. We have lost Arthur Penn, Eddie Fisher, Gloria Stuart, and now screen legend Tony Curtis. Curtis was a throwback to classic, perhaps mythic, Hollywood of decades ago.

I have been a Curtis fan for a long time. Some of my favorite of his films are Spartacus, Houdini, Operation; Petticoat, Boeing Boeing, The Great Race, and my personal favorite, The Defiant Ones, for which he received a Oscar nomination. I even recall fondly his voice appearance as Stony Curtis on an episode of The Flintstones.

My appreciation for his films has deepened as I have gotten older and more discerning in my entertainment choices. While Curtis had a well earned reputation for playing the tough guy/ladies man, he deserves much credit for his diversity I roles. He plausibly played a wide number of character types, including drag.

It was the brief time period in the early ’90’s when VH-1 began airing Hollywood Babylon, a rather tawdry series exposing the darker side of Hollywood, that I first realize Curtis was a representative of a classier Hollywood that was dead and gone. From time to time, he would tell an anecdote from those days which stood in stark contrast to te tabloid material the bulk of the show presented. The stories told, along with the obvious joy he had in once being a part of them, was a bittersweet reminder of a fading Tinsel Town.

A very large part of that Tinsel Town is now gone forever. Godspeed, Mr. Curtis.

Quotation #9--A Quote About Music

"Music's the medicine of the mind."--John A. Logan

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

“The Night of the Falcon” is one of the more interesting episodes of the third season. For those who appreciate who appreciate the more James Bon-like elements of the series, this episode is about as close to a bond film as you will get. Granted, it descends into laughable campy elements towards the end--pictured above is, unfortunately, the doomsday weapon at the heart of the plot--but it is still an entertaining episode nonetheless.

I think it has the best teaser, bar none. The cavalry is clearing out a small Colorado town for reasons which are not yet clear, but everyone in the know keeps looking at their watches, anxiously awaiting the noon hour. When the hour arrives, so does an apparent missile attack which destroys the entire town.

The attack was a test run for a even bigger demonstration set for a few days later. The second attack will destroy Denver before a group of international criminals who will then bid on the weapon. The whole shebang is organized by the Falcon, a wonderfully megalomaniacal villain played by a young Robert Duvall. The story plays out in typical fashion for The Wild Wild West. Artie poses as one of the international criminals after he is killed. Jim eventually gets captured, but escapes. He and Artie wind up at the The Falcon’s secret lair I which they learn he has two of those bird cannons. One he will sell, the other he will keep to take over the United States. Our heroes fight it out with The Falcon’s goofily dressed minions. Ten the how place blows up.

“The Night of the Falcon” is an episode that must be seen to be believed. Dvall plays it completely straight, even when he is wearing a birdhouse. There are a couple really huge goofs. In one, Jim is nearly blown up while lying on a bed in is hotel room. He is wearing a shirt and pants. He jumps out of the window and onto his horse in order to pursue his attacker. Somewhere between the bed and the window, e put on his jacket. Somewhere between getting on his horse and making it to The Falcon’s lair, he put on a pair of chaps. Out of thin air, I assume. The second goof iswhen Jim knocks a uard out I order to escape his prison cell. Theactor apparently did not know he was supposed to stay down, because he gets up and slinks off screen an instant after he was "knocked out," but never stops Jim from escaping!

In spite of all this--maybe because of it--”The Night of the Falcon” is one of my favorite episodes.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Kristen Bell

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This is Awesome

A reminder of how bad Star Trek: Generations was.

Quotation #8--A Quote About Your Favorite Animal

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Circus of Death"

We are back to familiar territory with ’The Night of the Circus of Death” after the sojourn into camp Indiana Jones territory. Very familiar territory, in fact. Plates from the Denver mint are stolen to produce nearly perfect counterfeit money which is beings spread around by a traveling circus. You may recall that is vaguely similar to the first season’s "The Night of the Sudden Death” in which plates are stolen from the Denver mint to create nearly perfect counterfeit money which is being spread around by a traveling circus.

The plots are not as identical as I make them sound, but you get the idea. Time made the two episodes blend together in my mind until I watched them both to catch the differences.

For one, there is a more elaborate mystery involved which takes up much of the episode. Jim and Artie have to investigate the death of a circus performer who left behind a suitcase full of money. Two, there is a lot more action. Jim nearly gets roasted by a flamethrower in the teaser. Later, he is locked in the lion’s cage. Finally, there is a conspiracy rather than a straightforward counterfeit operation. the wife of the mint’s director is in on it. She is using her senile old counterfeiting father, whom authorities believe is dead, to make the money without him knowing what she is doing with it.

“The Night of the Circus of Death” is an underrated episode in general. Perhaps that I because the general plot has been done before. There are enough new elements for the installment to stand on its own. I would not call it anything special, but considering how often the writers experimented during the third season, a classic, back to basics adventure I welcome at this point.

You may recognize Arlene Martel pictured above. She was Spock’s arranged ride-to-be in Star Trek “Amok Time,” which aired almost two months prior to this episode.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

Christina Aguilera Bikini Photo

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

United Nations Appoints Representative for Alien Contact

The United Nations is a body of incompetent, undemocratic do nothings who cannot sit me no matter what they do. Part of me wonders why they are wasting time on some silly stunt lie this instead of calling attention to to more urgent matters like human rights oppression, but another part of me breathes a sigh of relief they are working on this sort of frivolousness instead of screwing up something important.

The United Nations is set to appoint Malaysian astrophysicist Mazlan Othman to act as Earths first contact for any alien that may come calling. the urgency, assuming there is one, is the appointment is because discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before.

more likely, it is because the United nation's Office for Outer Space Affairs, of which Othman is a member, is jockeying for more money and therefore needs to increase its importance. NASA has a habit of announcing potential new discoveries that could shatter all that we know about the universe every time its relevancy comes under scrutiny, too.

Is there an increased potential for alien contact in the near future because o the discovery of new planets? Probably not. If first contact with aliens was an important issue, no one would be stupid enough to leave it to the United nations to handle.

For that matter, there is the standard viewpoint it has been a terrible thing for more advanced cultures to make contact with primitive ones because of the whole myth of the noble savage being destroyed by evil modernity. How can the intellectuals elite hold that viewpoint while encouraging contact with an alien race more advanced than humans?

Quotation #7--An Inspirational Quote

"Fall seven time, stand up eight."--Japanese proverb.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of Montezuma's Hordes"

I labeled the third season largely subdued, meaning there are very few episodes with over the top, world conquer ring villains and more straightforward western themes. Among the season, there are still a select few strange stories thatare high on the camp factor. “The Night of Montezuma’s Hordes’ is definitely one of those.

Two con men, played by frequent cowboy villain Jack Elam and everyone’s favorite Martian, Ray Walston, impersonate the leaders of an archeological team Jim, Artie, and a Mexican colonel are supposed to be escorting through the Mexican desert in search of an Aztec temple full of treasure. They intended to just steal the map from the colonel and find it themselves, but he memorized it instead, so the con men have to go along with the ruse until they all find the temple.

Have patience, folks. It is a long journey. Two acts worth, including two overnight camping scenes which are intended to show tension among the parties, but completely fail because it dragged out for two different scenes. I cannot help but feel the story was short on material so someone suggested doing the same scene twice, but with the cactus on the right side this time.

They reach the temple, which is not realy that well hidden, point of fact, to find the treasure is guarded by the Sun Goddess and descendants of the Aztecs. At this point, I have a low rent Indiana Jones ad the Last Crusade vie going on. Very low rent. The stone steps in the temple bend and creak like the plywood they really are.

Naturally, Jim pulls off the Sun Goddess’ mask and smooches her. Twice. Someone, this saves them all from certain death, but two of the party have to die. Big surprise that Jim and Artie are chosen. They wind up having to escape from a room with the ceiling slowly descending upon them. All right, so there is a lot Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom thrown in, too. Our heroes stop the crooks from stealing the treasure. Teir good deed earns the respect of the Aztecs, so they get to leave in peace as long as they keep the temple a secret.

“The Night of Montezuma’s Hordes” is a strange episode which drags in many places The series has too low a budget to try pulling off a plausible temple, as well. Still there is some goofy fun to be had. That keeps the episode from being a complete cellar dweller in my book.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Rosie Huntington Whiteley

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quotation #6--A Quote About Life

“Not only is life a b*tch, but she’s always having puppies.”– Anonymous

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

“The Night of the Hangman” is a unusual, but welcome straying from the formula. Jim and Artie get caught up in a mystery when they stop over in a small town as a very public murder takes place. Jim helps apprehend the alleged murderer. He serves as the key witness at trial, but after the guy is sentenced to be hanged, has doubts they have the right man.

Jim and Artie arrive in the midst of a town celebration thrown by the beloved local tycoon who employs most everyone and his young, trophy wife, Abigail. The local banker, a guy you get the impression everyone hates, is the resident grouch attempting to spoil tings for all. As the banker bends down to pick up his walking cane, a shot fires rom somehow hitting and killing said beloved tycoon. Everyone believes the bullet was meant for the ornery judge instead.

Jim gives chase to the murder. He finds himself in the room of Lucius Brand, played by a young Harry Dean Stanton, wearing a jacket identical to the alleged murderer and holding a gun. He protests his innocence, claiming he does not remember a thing. Things look bleak for him, however. Not only was he caught with the jacket and gun, but he had threatened to kill the banker for foreclosing on his farm. There is no surprise when he is sentenced to hang, but Jim still has his suspicions.

He is right to have them. The townsfolk are right out of a Stephen King novel. They have concocted a conspiracy among Abigail, the town’s most prominent lawyer, the sheriff, and a host of henchman to ill the tycoon, earn various sums of money or other advantages for doing so, and framing Brand for the murder by making it appear as though Brand wa killing the banker in revenge, but missed when he ducked.

Artie figures out Brand could not have fired the fatal shot by comparing photos taken at the event. His theorizing sounds very similar to the JFK Magic Bullet Theory, which has me wonder exactly how early the idea was popular among conspiracy theorists regarding whether Lee Harvey Oswald was framed/acted alone. Whether there is a homage here to the assassination conspiracy, Jim and Artie unravel the plan and save Brand from being hanged.

“The Night of the Hangman” fit’s the motif of the more subdued third season in that the episodes that are most unlike the typical episodes of the series are the best. No other episode plot compels Jim and Artie to do their thing on a personal, unauthorized mission. There is a genuine, well-plotted mystery here, too. The only drawback is how these townsfolk inexplicably use the typical super villain paraphernalia of trap doors and koc out gas to thwart our heroes. Why would they have such things? Their use is the only thing keeping the episode from earning four stars. Way too implausible, that.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Summer Glau

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Formspring Question # 48--Broken Funny Bone Edition

You haven't watched a sitcom in 12 years? What's the last one you watched?
Okay, my claim is not exactly true. I have seen episodes from scores of sitcoms over the last twelve years, either first run or in syndication. A lot of them were funny. But I never cared if I missed an episode or six. I cannot claim to like ashow if that is true, no?

I used to like Wings. The show did not get the recognition it deserved for its combination of talented cast and writing staff. A lot of people must have dismissed the show as some goofy comedy centered around a small airport. It was much more than tat, though.

The creator of the show, David Angell, was on American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Not a selling point for the show, but a tragically interesting factoid.

If you really want to know, I have seen quite a few episodes of The Simpsons, Frasier, Friends, The Drew Carey Show, Seinfeld, The King of Queens, Better Off Ted and Family Guy in recent years to varying degrees of enjoyment.

The Big Bang Theory is the only cannot miss I have experienced in a long while.

Formspring Question # 47--Contrarian Edition

Give me an unpopular opinion about LOST, Battlestar Galactica, and Doctor Who.
Lost--I really liked the finale. Others have complained it did not give any answers to the series’ questions, but ultimately, faith won out over science. Faith does not require answers. I can accept that.

As a bonus, I did not mind Nikki and Paulo. Michelle Rodriguez as Ana-Lucia Cortez was a fine addition to the cast, too.

Battlestar Galactica--I am not sure I have an unpopular opinion about the show. Were a lot of fans really upset about the ’God did it” finale? If so, I liked it, so that will have to count.

Doctor Who--Christopher Eccleston made a better Doctor than David Tennant. Eccleston played the part of a melancholy loner racked with survivor’s guilt perfectly. Tennant often came across as a whiny emo. Maybe the problem is Tennant had to drag out the persona three years longer than Eccleston, but regardless, that is how I feel.

Lynch mobs of teenage girls are now forming all over the United Kingdom to come after me now…

Formspring Question # 46--Third Rate Romance, Low Rent Rendesvous Edition

If you could go on a date with a celebrity, who would it be and where would you go?
You are all expecting me to say Reese Witherspoon and a particularly cretive violation of the Mann Act, but for the sake of variety, I will say someone else. Besides, a date implies one evening of fun. Reese and I are madly in love, no matter how much she denies it.

I will choose Elizabeth Mitchell.Yes, she is married, but we are calling this date non-romantic fun. By all accounts, Mitchell is an intelligent, sweet, and creative type who hasthe self-professed geek inclinations of a fourteen year old boy. She hides being a science fiction fan well in public, as I do, as well, so we would probably have a lot to talk about.

Where would we go? Out to eat. I would let her choose the place. Her tastes are bound to be more epicurean than mine. I would hate to embarrass her with a place beneath her standards.

Blogroll Spotlight # 63

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 Perspective--Supporters Realize There is Nothing to Support.

Belmont Club--After the Ball is Over.

Camp of the Saints--And All That Shabazz.

Classic Liberal--Drinkin', Smokin' Union Workers Meet Reality.

Current--Country First.

Da Tech Guy--Thoughts for an Overnight.

Daley Gator--Dennis Praer on Big Government.

Gates of Vienna--Preparing for the Universal Ummah.

Gorge's Grouse--Going, Going, Gone?

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--Teresa Lewis Executed.

Jaded Haven--Liberal Disconnect.

Kill Truck--Oh, Yes. She Did.

LiberalGuy--OIC and the Modern Caliphate.

Mind Numbed Robot--Ladies of Liberty: A Video Tribute.

No Sheeples Here!--The Rise of the Conservative Woman.

Other McCain--Democrats Unveil 2010 Message: Hope, Change, and a Buttload of Attack Ads.

Paco Enterprises--Wizardry!

Proof Positive--Barbie's Bad Week.

Six Meat Buffet--New Democrat Logo Only Costs $ 3.5 Trillion.

Sniper--You Really Think Using Dead Troops is Funny, Colbert?

Teresamerica--Mourning in America.

Troglopundit--How..Fat...Are They?

Washington Rebel--The Denouement.

Summer is officially over:

Quotation #5--A Quote About the Future

"The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive."--John Sladek

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

Over the last five episodes, Jim and Artie have singled-handedly preserved the United States’ good diplomatic relations with Mexico three times, Canada once, and now Japan. How we ever made it out of the 19th century intact without those two is beyond me. Which is another surprise, because their butter fingers approach to protecting national treasures gets them in trouble yet again.

This time around, it is a samurai sword belonging to a Japanese prince our heroes are guarding. They are attacked by a group of kabuki make up wearing swordsmen who steal the thing right out from under them. The prince sets sail in the morning, so Jim and Artie only have one night to recover the sword.

“The Night of the Samurai” returns to the usual light-hearted adventurous feel with a dash of humor the series is known for rather than the darkly violent tone of the previous. The plots are awfully similar. The sword has been stole by an old friend of Jim’s named Gideon, a Westerner deeply attached to the samurai tradition, who stole the sword in order to end the United States’ growing influence in Japan. We also taught Jim how to fight with samurai swords, so take a wild guess what the climax is all about.

Before, we get there, we have some fun double crosses. An informant named the Dutchman leads Jim and Artie on a wild goose chase. Reiko, one of the prince’s servants, seems to be an ally, but instead leads the two into Gideon’s clutches. Even the prince’s translator, played by Wo Fat himself, Keigh Deigh, appears to be up to no good when he offers to rent the sword from a disguised Artie only for fifteen minutes.It turns out the sword is not so much sacred as it has nearly $ 1 million worth of jewels stashed in its hilt. That might be a commentary on the sacred traditions of Japan versus American greed, but I am not sure. If it makes you feel good to think so, be my guest.

In spite of a plot which is not only unoriginal, but almost a direct lift of the previous episode, “The Night of the Samurai” is fun viewing. Artie disguises himself as a Portuguese sailor in one of my favorite of his disguises and flirts with a fat woman I swore was a man in drag for at least five minutes. The Dutchman has plenty of hints of being modeled after Count Manzeppi, but Victor Buono played the type of roll so much more memorably.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Katy Perry's Elmo T-Shirt

I suspect this photo from Katy Perry's Saturday Night Live appearance will be a Google trend before the credits roll.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 67

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

The Current links to Ground Zero Mosque Backer a 9/11 Truther.

The Other McCain links to Kaley Cuoco.

Pirate's Cove links to Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 66, Blogroll Spotlight # 62, and Lindsay Lohan.

Celeb Trends links to Naomi Watts.

Classic Liberal links to Lindsay Lohan Failed Two Drug Tests.

SportNooz links to Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress.

Best Business Online links to Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress.

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.

Quotations #4--A Quote About Family

"If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion."--Ashleigh Brilliant

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Jack O'Diamonds"

A prominent feature of the third season is the more straightforward western themes throughout. The villains are more political in nature, rather than over the top would be conquerors with wild science fiction laced plans. The episodes turned to camp quite often anyway, save for the episodes whose plots could well have fit in with ay of the western series popular in the late 60’s. Case in point is ’The Night of the Jack O‘ Diamonds.” It could just as easily be Matt Dillon as the protagonist as james West.

Our heroes are assigned to escort a horse, which is a gift from Pres. Ulysses S. Grant to Pres. Benito Juarez. Just after they have crossed the border into Mexico, the horse is stolen by a revolutionary posing as their contact. He is with a group who wants to disrupt US relations with Mexico. The horse is immediately stolen from him by bandits. Jim and Artie have to sort out the whole mess before a diplomatic incident occurs.

The process of recovering the horse turns into the darkest, most violent episode of The Wild Wild West. Jim pursues the bandits alone and then the revolutionaries alongside the leader of the bandits, a man named El Sordo, once he realizes the horse is a gift for Juarez. Jim racks up an impressive body count by himself against the bandits. He ad El Sordo, combine for far more bloodshed. I stopped counting at thirty dead bodies, but not only did they not stop shooting, Artie eventually joins in to plug a few himself. The horse is recovered after everyone is dead.

“The Night of the Jack O’Diamonds” is as far from a typical episode of the series as it gets. Te violence is brutal and bloody. The pretty girl is thrown in for a few minutes just to fit the motif. There is only one instance of gadgetry. The ending--the entire episode, really--is one big gunfight. There is no cleverness to the plot or any creative twist.

If I was a bigger fan of westerns, I would probably think more highly of the episode, but I like The Wild Wild Wet for its high concept weirdness. It is not a ttal wash, mind you. The darker tone is strangely intriguing. But it feels very out of place compared to the rest of the series.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Gillian Anderson

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harlan Ellison is Dying

My favorite author is not long for this world.

Stephen Colbert Testifying Before Congress Mocks What Little Integrity Our Government Has Left

When the midterm election are over and the analysis of why there was such a massacre of Democrat Congressmen and Senators, pundits are going to point to today’s stunt of having comedian Stephen Colbert tesfy in character before a congressional committee as the final sign Democrats have completely lost any governing credibility.

I liken it to the Mark Foley scandal prior to the 2006 midterms. The Republican majority had been spending taxpayer money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Their recklessness was more than enough to merit being booted from power. But it was Foley’s creepy flirting with a young male staffer that added that last bit of out of touch absurdity that plagues Washington.

Frankly, with Hollywood losing popularity rapidity with its movie and television offerings, reputation for progressive preaching, and sending baggy pants comedian Al Franken to the Senate, Democrats ought to be running scared from Tinsel Town. The anti-Tea Party rally organized by Jon Stewart and Colbert shortly before the election is not goig to help. The rally will be beyond their control. Why invite Colbert to make things worse?

I am fine with celebrities involving themselves in political issues, even in ones I do not agree with. It alleviates their guilt for becoming wealthy engaging in such a frivolous business as entertainment. Many of them are still worthy of mockery because of their hapless ignorance or irreverence. Personally, I think Colbert fit’s the latter. Whatever the case, allowing a celebrity to take a key role in a policy hearing, even as a joke, is an embarrassment to our country.

Lindsay Lohan Taken into Custody

Celebrity gossip rags were all buzzing Lindsay Lohan was going to dodge a bullet today and not be arrested for filing two drug tests. No such luck for her. Lohan was locked in handcuffs in the courtroom and hauled off to jail. Already a couple witnesses say the shocked look o her face was priceless. too bad there were no cameras allowed in the courtroom. That is probaly one for posterity.

This is the first time Lohan has faced Judge Elden Fox I court. She was not present at the hearing I which he promised to sentence her the thirty days in jail for each drug teat failed or missed. He appears to be ready to make good on his promise. Lohan will appear for sentencing October 22. While I have doubts she will stay in the pokey until then, Fox means business.

Celebrity justice is virtually always a joke in California. Nabbing Phil Spector for the murder of Lana Clarkson is the only instance I can recall of a celerity not getting away with thumbing their nose at the law. Lohan has been asking for it, though. Making a drunken tweet at a bar about failing two drug tests? Very dumb.

I try to be as sympathetic as possible with substance abusers. But I come from a long line of alcoholics and realize there comes a point where you have to stop sympathizing with someone suffering from the “disease” because their attitude is nothing but abusive. Lohan has well passed that point. Warehousing about the only thing left, barring a miraculous attitude adjustment, that will keep her out of the grave. Not that I am optimistic.

Quotations #3--A Quote About Friendship

"Fate chooses your relations, you choose your friends."--Jacques Delille

Wild Wild West--"The Night Dr. Loveless Died"

Michael Dunn makes his ninth of ten appearances as Dr. Miguelito Loveless. This is the only episode to feature Loveless in the third season and the final time he will encounter Artie. His final appearance will take place during the period of time Ross martin was recovering from a heart attack. Jeremy Pike, the most popular of Artie’s replacements, will serve as Jim’s partner for that one.

If you have not already guessed, Loveless fakes his own death and arranges for Jim and Artie to go on an inadvertent quest to eliminate some of Loveless’ cheated accomplices so e can have a fresh start with his schemes. The plan works beautifully as loveless poses as his on German neuroscientist uncle during the adventure. The uncle cannot quite help but release his anger periodically over his nephew’s “persecution” by Jim. Nevertheless, Jim never catches onto the doctor’s true identity until it is too late.

Loveless thanks Jim by locking him in a sanitarium and preparing to perform a lobotomy. What an ingrate. Jim is rescued from the operating table by rtie posing as a French surgeon. Loveless, of course, escapes. He seemingly dies for real as the sanitarium burns down, but we know better than that.

A couple poit of note. First, Loveless’ uncle introduces himself as Dr. Liebknich. I German, that literally translates to “love not,” although it would not be spelled with a “k” in German. Second, Susan Oliver, who played Vina in the original Star Trek pilot, portrays the femme fatale. Oliver was a fascinating woman. Aside from acting, she was a licensed pilot who once attempted to be the first woman to fly from New York to Moscow. She was a noted expert on the history of baseball. In her later years, she became an acclaimed director. She won a Tony award for the only play she ever starred in. she managed to reach the pinnacle of several careers in one lifetime, no?

“The Night Dr. Loveless Died” is one of the better Loveless episodes because of how long the demented dwarf manipulates Jim and Artie into his bidding. The plot and execution are some of the most clever of Loveless’ non-would be conqueror plans. Susan Oliver is one of the loveliest ladies from the series, too. A definite highlight of the season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Minka Kelly

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Big Bang Theory--"The Robot Manipulation"

I was not going to cover any more television series this season, but It feels strange to not do so after the last few years. So I am going to pick up The Big Bang Theory. Sitcoms are not normally my cup of tea, but it has been the only exception in about twelve years or so.

“The Robot Manipulation” begins where we left off last season. Howard and Raj have arraed for Sheldon to hook up with his perfect mate through online dating. Sheldon and Amy, played with splendid Asperger’s Syndrome blutnness by Mayim Biali, are going about their relationship in the only way ubermensch can--deciding immediately to procreate through donated sperm and egg in order to create a line of benign dictatorial geniuses to guide humanity into the future.

Raj quips that history will judge the gang harshly for not killing Sheldon before it is too late. Indeed.

Penny convinces Sheldon he needs to be more intimate with Amy before taking such a bi step. They hardly communicate outside of the internet. Sheldon agrees to go on a date, but ropes Penny into driving them since he has no license. Hilarity ensues as the two gang up on penny over diner regarding her love life.

Penny gets the last laugh by insisting she will tell Shelon's born again Christian mother he is planning to have a test tube baby out of wedlock. Her threat stops the whole plan right in its tracks.

In the B-story, Howard invents a robot arm that is to be used as a mechanic on the space shuttle. He uses it himself to massage his own shoulders, then graduates to…you can probably guess. Howard wins up embarrassingly I the emergency room, robot ad all, util the desk clerk solves his problem by flipping the off switch on the arm.

Howard’s predicament was awfully predictable considering the character and so was not very original. The awkward date was hilarious, however. Penny can be awfully mean spirited to the guys, as pretty girls often are to nerds. Sheldon in particular gives back as good as he gets. Brutal yes, but indeed funny.

Not a bad start to the season, but the two stories do not math up in quality.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Katy Perry Pulled from Sesame Street for Having Big Boobs

I guess Oscar the Grouch is the only one on Sesame Street allowed to have nice cans.

NBC Orders Locke & Linus Pilot

All right, it is not exactly Locke & Linus, but that is how J. J. Abrams pitched the potential series re-teaming Lost veterans Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson's as retired black ops secret agents who still manage to get into trouble. Te show has been ordered to pilot by NBC.

So there is some potentially good news to brighten up what is shaping up to be a bleak future for the television landscape. Presumably, the as yet titled series would not appear until next fall even if picked up, but i suppose it could be a summer series. One would hope not. those are awfully forgettable.

Anyone who remembers Millennium remembers fondly how O'Quinn can play a nasty, but entertaining secret agent. Emerson's evil Ben Linus has got to be even fresher i your mind. The chemistry between the two on lost was one of the highlights of the show. I am looking forward to a potential series here.

Quotations #2--A Quote About Love

"Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."--Robert Heinlein

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

Just to prove there is symmetry, even in international relations, Jim and Artie find themselves attempting to prevent a coup in Mexico seemingly perpetrated by Americans. This time te plan is a bit more well thought out than stealing a wagon load of war materiel and heading off to British Columbia.

Jim interrupts an assassination attempt in Mexico of Pres. Benito Juarez. While chasing after the would be assassin, he is ambushed by his accomplice. The accomplice turns out to be An American Relations between the two countries sour as marshal law is declared and Americans become prime targets for trigger happy Mexican soldiers.

Jim seeks out the escaped assassin at great risk to himself out of fear there is an American backed conspiracy to throw Mexico into chaos. The assassin, a young Texan named Halwosen, is captured by the brutal Mexican Col. Barbosa, who hides him from everyone in order to torture out a confession.

Jim arranges for Halwosen for his ‘father”--Artie in disguise--to meet in order to get the whole story straight from the horse’s mouth. He refuses to talk as log as he is a prisoner, so Jim and Artie devise a plan to break him out of prison before Barbosa can go to work on him.

Our heroes’ job is complicated by a pretty senorita who seems to show up at just the wrong time to thwart their investigation. The final straw is when she kidnaps the rescued Halwosen right out from under him after he as been rescued from prison.

It turns out she is working directly for Juarez to uncover the whole assassination plot. Working together, they all discover Barbosa is behind it all. He hired Halwosen ad his accomplice from the shadows to kill Juarez, then had Halwosen arrested to torture out a confession Americans were behind the plot. Then Barbosa would be free to take over the country.

Robert Loggia takes his second turn as a villain in the series. He is very menacing here, but not a particularly convincing Mexican. Nevertheless, the episode is good, if for no other reason than it well separates itself from the similarly plotted previous episode. The story has more of a covert caper feel to it than yesterday’s blow ’em all up and that will fix it plot. Good fun regardless.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Megan Fox

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thoughts on the Television Season So Far

It is pretty sad I can go ahead and write this on Wednesday night, but there is nothing left I pan to check out for the foreseeable future. I may still be firmly in the coveted 18-49 demographic shows are shooting for, but not much of what they are offering amuses me in the slightest.

The only returning show I care to watch is The Big Bang Theory. Perhaps my geekiness explain my general disinterest in current television offerings. I keep saying I will try Frige, but like Heroes, I keep saying that until its cancelled. I watched the first episode of that series--Ali Larter stripping for an online custumer. That did not even make me want to tune in for more.

Speaking of comely lasses, I did not watch Dancing with the Stars, but I have seen promo photos of the dancing teams. All snarking aside about stretching the definition of star to the breaking point, Bristol Palin is a goo looking youg lady. What did she ever see in that creepy redeck Levi Johston?

Out of morbid curioiusity, I flipped between the first act of Two and a Half Men and The Event wondering how the show would play out after Charlie Sheen’s legal troubles and heated salary dispute. It turs out the show still killed in the ratings, which is awful. Right off the bat, there was a joke about statutory rape as the two main characters watched a sixteen year old girl leave the kid, jake’s room. Alan (Jon Cryer) quipped to Charlie something like, “At the risk of having to testify, tell me that she is one of yours.” Stay classy, guys.

They are goig to take what little fun there is left in American Idol out next season. They are no loger goig to have strict theme nights, so you will no longer see some black kid from the Philadelpia slums squirm tryig to warble Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” on Country Night. There will no longer be celebrity mentors, either, so no moreSid Vicious wannabes assuring Rod Stewart he is his bigget fan. Bummer. I like that stuff more than Simon Cowell’s mean spirited remarks.

Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lope as judges does not strike me as an audience grabber, either. A cut above Ellen DeGenres maybe, but not much else. The guy who has to feel most awkward is Randy Jackson. He is the only original judge left. He really ought to hae umped sip, too, just to save face. Staying ehind gives the impression he has no other irons in the fire. To be fair, I do not recall if he is still under contract or had the opportunity to bail, so I will leave it at that. Maybe he is happy there and that is good enough.

Not much else going on, unfortunately.

Formspring Question # 45--Absorbing New Phosphor Dots Edition

Will you be covering any new fall season shows?
It does not look like it. The only two new shows I was interested in watching were The Event and Hawaii 5-0. They merit a split decision.

I tuned into The Event to see if it would live up to its hype. The ad campaign looked like it was trying too hard to make the series a big hit. Setting themselves up for failure, I thought. Sure enough, it did not live up to its marketing campaign. The characters were bland, the mystery did not hook me, and the time shifts were too confusing.

I might ’”get it” if I invested some time into it, but I am not going to. The event is being compared to Lost, but it does not measure up. With Lost, I liked the characters right off the bat and was hooked by the overall story arc. No such luck with The Event.

I did enjoy Hawaii 5-0 and will watch it agai next week. But it is good in the same way Burn Notice is good--a lot a fun action, but not much interesting stuff to write about later. I quit reviewing Burn Notice at The Eye even though I have yet to miss an episode. The show does not make for interesting blogging. You may recall 24 reviews were canned for the same reason.

Maye if one or the other picks up the pace. Something tells me The Event will be a one season wonder anyway.

Quotations #1--A Quote About God

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."--Mother Teresa

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

I can see the wheels turning in the writers room about comig up with ideas for ‘The Night of the Firebrand.”

“How about a story about some revolutionary attempting to take over Mexico?” oe writer says.

“We have done that seven times already,” replies executive producer Henry Sharp.

“Okay,” the same writers says, “but how about shaking things up then. The revolutionary wants to kill President Benito Juarez.”

“We have done that four out of the seven.” Sharp reminds him.

“How about if the revolutionary has built up a militia of cutthroats to do his dirty work?” another writer interjects.

“Be funny,” Sharp retorts.

A third writer has a flash. ’Say, how about the revolutionary discovers a way to control people’s minds?”

“Shut up1!" everyone I the room says in unison.

“Go over to Gunsmoke with that stuff. They are running out of ideas over there at this point, anyway.” says Sharp. “We need to shake things up a bit.

“I’ve got it!” the first writer shouts.

“Well don’t give it to anyone else,’ the other writers quip.

“No, seriously. Let’s have the revolutionary plot to take over Canada. We’ve never done that before.”

“And ever will again, but I guess it’s worth a sht. Let’s do it!” orders Sharp.

With that, ‘The Night of the Firebrand” became a thrilling adventure to save all the moose in the Great White North from being taken over by Trapper John, MD sporting a terribly fake Irish accent. No wonder Canada was so often spared by this show’s villainous schemes.

Pernell Roberts, fresh off a long stint portraying Adam Cartwright on Bonanza, plays Sean O’Reilly, a revolutionary who has stolen a wagonload of arms and dynamite from American Ft. Hood with plans to overthrow the Canadian government. He has attracted the attention of Sheila O’Shugnassy, the young daughter of a prominent Congressman. Jim and Artie are to recover the wagon and rescue Sheila.

The episode takes a lighthearted tone with two running gags. In the first, Jim and Artie keep recovering the wagon, but perpetually lose it to O’Reilly along the trip from British Columbia to New York. In the second, they keep knocking Sheila out comically by a pressure point on her neck in in order to keep her quiet. Amid all the coon skin hats, fake Irish and French-Canadian accents, and the constant threat of even more stereotypical Indians, that is about the only toe the episode could honesty take.

The exciting climax is the episode’s saving race. Artie takes the wagon into New York while Jim stays behind with dozens of sticks of dynamite to delay the wagon’s pursuers. It is a particularly imaginative and explosive way of ending the revolution before it even begins. It blowed up good. Blowed up real good.

“The Night of the Firebrand” is a fun episode that can definitely not be taken too seriously. I am curious way Roberts would take a one time role in another western so soon after leaving the popular Bonanza, particularly if he was interested in avoiding being typecast. He makesa fairly good villain, all things considered.

Speaking of Roberts, he, like Harold Gould from yesterday’s episode, passed away earlier this year.

The episode has another fine pedigree. Sheila is a played by Lana Wood, the younger sister of Natalie Wood. Lana is still active as an actress, but she will probably always be most famous for playing Plenty O’Toole in Diamonds Are Forever. She may be most notorious for publishing a memoir a few years after Natalie’s death that was a little too frank about her famous sister. Lana has found herself estranged from much of her family because of it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Miranda Kerr

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Strange Letter # 30--A Letter to a Bowl of Fruit

Dear Bowl of Fruit,

Why no tomatoes? They are fruit, too, you know. You guys are not bigots or anything, right?

Concerned,
Jamie

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Bubbling Death"

We arrive at the third season premiere at a highly apt moment. The villain of the episode, Victor Freematle, is played by veteran character actor, Harold Gould. Gould passed away last week at the age of 86 after a long, varied career spanning from the early ’50’s until nearly his death.

Freematle isa revolutionary who has taken a strip of land between the United States and Mexico as his own. He is demanding diplomatic recognition as well as a large sum of money from the United States. In order to ensure, he has stolen the Constitution for ransom. We are fortunate he did not steal the Constitution under Barack Obama’s administration when the document has become all but irrelevant. We would never have gotten it back.

Jim escorts an expert from the National Archive into Freemantle’s fortress to inspect the captured document. They are blindfolded and spu around as misdirection before being lead oto a makeshift bridge over a pit of bubbling acid which gives the episode its title. The expert confirms the Constitution is real, then is held hostage, too, as assurance the ransom demand will be met.

Thus begins the bulk of the episode’s action. Jim and Artie know where the fortress is, just not exactly where the Constitution is within it. Their break in to the fortress and subsequent conquest of various obstacles and booby traps hints strongly at the Indiana Jones movies which will come decades later. It is not hard to see The Wild Wild West is as influenced by ’30’s serials as the esteemed archeologist’s advetures will be.

The twist is the history expert is in on the caper. He helped Freemantle steal the Constitution and falsely claimed the forgery Jim and Artie are trying to recover is the real deal. Our rediscover the real Constitution hidden elsewhere and eventually capture all parties involved.

In addition to Gould, “The Night of the Bubbling Death” has a stronger than usual cast for a genre show. The history expert, Silas Gigsby, is played by William Shallert, better known as Patty Due’s father, but has been a character actor for decades. The feeme fatale is played by Madlyn Rhue, fresh off her seduction by Khan in Star Trek’s “Space Seed.”

“The Night of the Bubbling Death” is for fans who care more about action than story. The episode is high on trills and gadgets, but low on any sort of well thought plot.. Admittedly, the twist that Gigsby is I on the crime is one of the better surprises, particularly considering the character goes from a nebbish bundle of nerves to a gun toting thief in 0-60, ut that is the only neat story element. Even Freematle’s capture is done off screen and mentioned only in passing shortly before the credits roll. Ut the action scenes are very much a saving grace.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Rosie Jones

Monday, September 20, 2010

Obama Omits Creator from the Declaration of Independence

I have long since argued Barack Obama is an atheist, not a Muslim. Here is further evidence.

Obama spoke at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Friday night. At around 22:30, he quotes the Declaration of Independence, but omits “Creator” from the appropriate place:
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal….. endowed with certain unalienable rights, life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
I have heard a number of libertarian atheist types dance around the controversy by not quoting directly from the Declaration of Independence and just referring to the inalienable rights as universal. Obama probably would have liked to do the same, but the actual quote from the Declaration of Independence was on his teleprompter.

Skip ahead to 22:30 or so ad watch as he pauses right after saying "created equal," as though he does not want to read what comes next. Maybe he was already thrown off by saying "created equal."

I will concede Obama may be disinclined to quote any part of the Declaration of Independence regarding people being created equal or endowed with inalienable rights because of the notion in black liberation theology these words mean nothing to blacks because they were slaves at the time they were written. i have not comfortable the president has that idea, either, if true.

Whatever the problem is, it is an awkward moment.

Arrest Warrat Issued for Lindsay Lohan

I was being snarky yesterday when I quipped Lindsay Lohan was going to have to host Saturday Night Live from a jail cell after failing a drug test. It turns out Lohan actually failed two drug tests--one for cocaine, the other for amphetamines--so is in truly hot water.

Judge Ekden Foz has revoked Loha's probation and issued a bench warrant which is on hold until after her scheduled court appearance 8:30 AM Friday. One can only assume she will be headed straight from the courthouse to the pokey. Fox could sentence Lohan up to thirty days in jail for each failed drug test. California celebrity justice tendsto never wind up so appropriately, though.

She has four nights before she has to surrender to police? I cannot wait to see what she looks like Friday morning after cramming in all that partying before her inevitable incarceration. That is assuming her dealer does not throw her comatose body into a dumpster behind Burger King in order to keep himself of the hook.

It is Pray for Christopher Hitchens Day

Today has been set aside for Christians to pray for the health and soul of outspoken atheist and author Christopher Hitchens, who is dying from cancer of the esophagus. Hitchens himself has said, while he does not discourage kid intentions, not to bother “deaf heaven with your bootless cries.” Unless, as is the kindest way in which Hitchens describes the purpose of religious belief, it makes you feel better.

Consider there are three groups of Christians praying for Hitchens today, assuming there are a significant number who will. First, there are those praying for a horrible demise thanks to his constant crusade against Christianity. Second, there are those praying for a deathbed conversion. Finally, there are those praying for a miraculous recovery. Hitchens is a cynical man, so the hatred in the hearts of the first group and arrogance of the second are going to be irritating. The final group demands far more faith than a practical man like Hitchens can appreciate. I confess sympathy to some degree with his viewpoint on all three groups.

We are all going to take that march into twilight no matter who we are or what we believe. The trip is going to be far longer and comfortable for some, short and brutish for others, or perhaps some combination thereof. I am not entirely certain there is a point for praying for miraculous health or safety on behalf of another for any reason other than showing your own good intentions. There is something to be said for that. Far more to be said for it if done quietly and alone where no one will know.

That Hitchens has had such a long run as a declared enemy of god is a testament to the patience and mercy of God. What I take way from Hitchens’ lie, aside from the occasional nuggets of wisdom eve those so frequently wrong about the important issues can still possess, are those revelations of God’s character. In the end, hitchens willingly chose his path, but inadvertently revealed how good god trult is. One hasto wonder how God fits such things into his ultimate plan.

Strange Letter # 29--A Letter to An Old Regret

Dear Regret,

It is difficult to write this letter because I do not know who to send it to. Lie anyone else, I am weak and falter. I make bad decisions and dwell on the consequences. But I resist as best I can, because every decision we make, good or bad, propels us dow our destined path.

Whatever will be, will be. There is no point in pouting too much about the bad choices or crowing too much about good fortune, either. All of it is a matter of time and chance. Look up Ecclesiastes 9:11 sometime. If Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, believed the things that happened to us are mostly beyond our control, then who am I to argue?

I am going to keep this letter short and sweet. Regret, you are an imaginary Boogey Man who only has the power grated to you by emotionally damaged people. It is best for you to be a tiny weakling, there to serve as a reminder of mistakes learned from and nothing more.

Sincerely,
Jamie

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Bogus Bandits"

Michael Dunn returns for his eighth of ten appearances as Dr. Miguelito Loveless in ‘The Night of the Bogus Bandits.” The episode is underrated as far as Loveless stories go. Perhaps that is because his latest plan of conquest, while grandiose, does not involve any extraordinary science fiction elements like his most recent. But it is still enjoyable because the plot is cleverer than most.

Loveless has been training an army to work as a cohesive unit by robbing banks with precision skill. They never get caught because none of the money is ever spent. Loveless burns the loot in a bonfire with promises there is far more wealth to be had later. However, two C-notes escape one bonfire and are spent by two henchmen. Jim and Artie are assigned to track down who spent the charged money.

Artie becomes a tenant at the boarding house where one was spent on rent. Jim goes to a saloon to find the former owner o the other. Artie finds and tussles with Loveless’ henchman who is trying to clean up his mess. Jim finds the man himself and gets captured.

Loveless reveals is plan. He is training his army to make a three pronged, simultaneous attack I order to arm, finance, and conquer the territory for his own. He has apparently lined up some foreign ally is willing to recognize his new country once he gives the signal. In a surprising, but refreshing move, it is Artie that stops Loveless’ plan by destroying the communication device so the attack cannot go forward. Loveless, of course, escapes to scheme another day.

There is a lot of build up as our heroes go through the motions of tracking down the charged bills’ owners. So much time is spent on it, the ending feels a bit rushed. We have to accept Loveless’ army will not go all lone wolf and attack anyway because there is no time to actually deal with them. It is a small gripe, but one nonetheless. The grandiose scheme of conquest peters out with one move on Artie’s part.

A key point of interest is the town Jim finds Loveless in--from the entire town--downtown, jail, and the saloon--is Dodge City from Gunsmoke. Miss Kitty’s Longbranch saloon has only slightly been altered for the episode. This counts as the third glaringly noticeable time the series borrows a set from another show. The second was in “The Night of the Bottomless Pit” when Gilligan’s island doubled as Devil’s Island. the first was the appearance of the fort from the Star Trek episode "Arena" which has appeared frequently since the first season.

“The Night of the Bogus Bandits” is not the strongest of the Loveless episodes, but it is still a Loveless episode, so that puts it a cut above the rest. It could have had a little more pizzazz for a season finale, but it does end a strig of mediocre episodes on a strong note.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Charlize Theron

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blogroll Spotlight # 62

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 Perspective--Sheriff Arpaio Seeks Volunteer Posse

Amusing Bunni's Musings--Friday Night Funnies

Belmont Club--Anybody But

Camp of the Saints--"Honorable" Men and Newspeak

Classic Liberal--The Karl Rove Establishment

Common Cents--Divide and Conquer: The Polarizer in Chief

Current--Democrats Running on Empty

Da Tech Guy--When You Have Atheists and Catholics Questioning Obama o Things Stuff This...

Daley Gator--Hot Chick Rides Mechanical Bull in a Very Short Skirt

Gorge's Grouse--The Real Catwoman

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--The Friday Pinup

Jaded Haven--Another Brick n the Wall

Jumping in Pools--We're Moving...Mostly

LiberalGuy--The Biggest Target is Liberalism

Mind Numbed Robot--It's Constitution Day!

No Sheeples Here!--Tea Party Takig the Trash

Other McCain--The Swiftboating of Christine O'Donnell

Proof Positive--Count on Democratic Leadership

Six Meat Buffet--Quite Possibly the Best Book Review I've Ever Read

Teresamerica--Revealing Why the Mega Flip Flopper is a Flam

Troglopundit--I Only Read It for the Articles, I Swear

Washington Rebel--Tinker, Tenor, Soldier...Marine (Note the new site location.)

For our musical interlude: pot smoking, tax dodging Willie Nelson and lefty feminist Sheryl Crow duet on socialist Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans."

Strange Letter # 28--A Letter to a Lake

Dear Lake Robinson,

Thanks for all the fish.

Sincerely,
Jamie

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

“The Night of the Wolf” takes another of the series’ X-Files turns into what appears to be the supernatural, but turns out not to be. It is also a unusual episode in that the guest characters are often more prominent than Jim and Artie.

Several years ago, a Croatian monarch was deposed by his brother with the elp of a Rasputin-like advisor named Talemantas. The brother died a short time ago, living the deposed monarch and his daughter, who have been living obscurely in the Arizona Territory, to return to his land. Jim and Artie are assigned to ensure the two get on the ship safely. Taemantas has come to Arizona to stop them…or has he?

Tlematas appears to have supernatural control over a pack of wolves that are impervious to pain and nearly impossible to kill. Jim shoots one twice without effect. It takes a large silver bullet from the king’s gun to kill one. Hence, there is the belief for much of the episode Talematas controls werewolves. The truth is, he has developed a serum with which he can control minds. Yes, I know. Just like the previous episode. His real plan is to kidnap the princess and control her mind as she takes over the thrown.

Unbeknownst to anyone, the exiled king is dying. He had his first cardiac episode upon learning of his brother’s death and his second upon the kidnapping of his daughter by Talematas. Artie runs off to gather everyone needed for an immediate coronation before the deposed ing dies so his daughter can tae over while Jim runs off to rescue the princess in the first place.

I recall not buying into the story even as a child. It is not just because the wolves that attack Jim on three separate occasions are clear fakes which do not even move as they “maul” him. It is the other, far greater problems in logic.

Supposedly, the wolves are so jacked up on serum, it takes one large bullet to kill them. For whatever reason, a hail of small bullets have no effect. The fact the large bullet was silver is noted out loud to be irrelevant when the truth about the serum is revealed. A hail of regular bullets should have been more effective than one large.

How did Talemantas get from Croatia to Arizona so fast? The news of the king’s death traveled far faster tan he could have made a transatlantic voyage, particularly if he took the longest possible route an landed in California. Why not just stay in Croatia and take over amid all the chaos of having no leader in place? He was controlling the king by serum anyway, so he was the guy in charge in the first place.

The third problem with logic is more amusing than anything else. Jim meets with a local sheriff who is part of the security team. The sheriff leads the deposed king up to his room and is not seen again until the quickie coronation. That means he is upstairs, but does nothing, while wolves attack, multiple gunshots are fired outside, Talemandas and his men beak in to kidnap the princess, and she is rescued by Jim. I have heard of sound sleeping, but that guy takes the gold medal in the event.

For the sake of being pedantic, I also note Croatia was controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire I the 1870’s. No local royalty was allowed to reign over territory, so none of this could have happened anyway. The more you learn, the worse “The Night of the Wolf” gets.

I consider it the worst episode of the second season. Perhaps even the entire series. You can skip it without missing a thing.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Lindsay Lohan

In celebration of testing positive for cocaine after stints in jail and rehab. Way to go, girl!

Can one host Saturday Night Live from a jail cell? We are about to find out.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 66

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

No Sheeples Here! includes The Eye in her Sumpthin' 4 Mutton roud up.

Pirate's cove lins to Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 65, Blogroll Spotlight # 61, and Michele Carey.

The Other McCain links to Michele Carey.

Te Current links to Koran Burning and Cultural Hypocrisy.

The Classic Liberal links to Kate Hudson, Michele Carey, and Tricia Helfer.

Stop the ACLU links 9/11 Remembrance.

Smash Mouth politics spotlihts Michele Carey.

FeJoe links to my review of The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Tartar."

Nice Deb links to 9/11 Remembrance

Blue Star Chronicle links to 9/11 Remembrance.

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.

Strange Letter # 27--A Letter to a Band That Really Needs to Break Up

Dear Rolling Stones,

Gentlemen, it is long passed time to call it quits. I would say you shoul hang it up while you all still have a shred of dignity left, ut I think you blew that when you came across as the Strolling Bones at the Super Bowl halftime show a few years ago.

Mick, you cannot prance around like a banny rooster singing love songs the same way you did when you were 25. It gets creepy belting out tunes about young love when you are eligible for social security. Frankly, you give me the heebie jeebies anyway. How did you get so skinny? You do not even need an x-ray machine to see what is going on inside. The doctor could just hold you up to a strong light.

Keith, what can I say, dude? You are going to be the guy floating in the asteroi belt that was once Earth when the planet finally goes snickering at what a freaking wild ride it was. Ut that does not mean you are fit for public consumption. You have proven your invincibility. It is time to go home and filter all nine pints of blood.

Ron, I have not understood a word you have ever said. How will we kow when and if you have ad a stroke? Will you start to sound like James Earl Jones? It would be the only clue we would get.

You have some good songs. They generally make up for the damage you have caused me. I will never forget seeing one of my college roommates standing on the couch in his underwear warbling “Beast of Burden,” so you have left an indelible mark on my poor psyche. Please do not scar me further with another tour.

It was a good run. Now retire to the front porch before you break a hip.

Sincerely,
Jamie

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

“The Night of the Cadre” is a marriage of two popular concepts for the series--a sciece fiction plot to take over the world and a standard militia to…well, take over the world. Do they go together like peanut butter and chocolate? Not really. More like peanut butter ad bananas. It will do, but it is not the best combination of which one could conceive.

Jim is sent to a prison in order to observe the execution of a would be presidential assassin. Several others like him who have expressed a desire to kill Ulysses S. Grant have been inexplicably released by prison wardens in the last few weeks. Sure enough, the condemned is released ere after a whistle is blown I the vicinity o the warden.

An autopsy reveals the warden had a crystal implanted in is brain which increases the power of suggestion when in contact with the frequency of the whistle. Whoever ha been implanting these crystals has been freeing a small army of potential assassins for something big. Jim poses as an infamous assassin in order to become a part of the plan.

He is kidnapped from his wagon transport to a fort run by Gen. Titus Trask, a former United States Army officer booted out by grant. He now wants revenge, or so it seems for most of the episode. He really wants to implant a crystal in Grant’s brain in order to control him. When he discovers who Jim really is, he decides Jim, a trusted Secret Service agent, is jut the ticket.

Wait--how did a professional soldier learn about crystals that can control minds? I do not know. Since the episode never worries about such a frivolous point, neither should we, right?

The rest of the story goes exactly as you would expect. Artie, in disguise, rescues Jim before his brain urery can begin. Jim pretends he had the surgery anyway so he can infiltrate Trask’s army. There is a big hoot and fistfight at the end which resolves the plot. Trask fall off a cliff to his death as one of the most laughably obvious dummies in television history. Even for a low budget show, it was bad. They could not have just had a guy fall on a airbag? Geez.

“The Night of the Cadre” is also notorious for featuring the same plot hole that plagued "The Night of the Red-Eyed Madmen.” You may recall in that episode Jim infiltrated another militia, but his cover was blown because he had encountered another member before joining up. Since meeting the guy was the catalyst for investigating the militia to begin with, Jim should have known this would happen. Not only does this not occur to him then, but he did not learn anything. The same scenario happens again here. The condemned would be assassin from the opening teaser has been recruited by the militia and can identify Jim which he does the first chance he gets. Not only is this problem a huge illogical flaw once, it happens in two different episodes!

“The Night of the Cadre” is not the best. It is not the worst, either, in spite of its logical flaws. The episode is just sort of…there. The dumb bits are more amusig than annoying.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Kaley Cuoco Will Miss Multiple Episodes of The Big Bang Theory with Her Injury

Bad news for us geeks yearning to see our favorite girl in action again. Last weekend, Kaley Cuoco was hospitalized after breaking her leg in a horseback riding accident. The powers that be at The Big Bang Theory wrote her out of the about to go before the cameras next episode, but now it looks like she will miss multiple episodes of the series.

Bummer. The way her character, penny, plays off the guys, particularly Sheldon (Emmy winner Jim Parsons) is one o the brightest spots on the series. She is hot, too.

I find the timing of her accident interesting. The Big Bang Theory signed the most lucrative syndication deal in television history in late sprig. TBS has contracted to pay $ 2 million per episode for seven seasons worth of episodes ($ 2 million/ episode x 24/ episodes per season x 7 seasons=$ 360 million.) to begin airing during the 2011-12 season. The three main stars of the series have negotiated new contracts in the wake of the syndication deal which grants each $ 250,000 per episode this season (the fourth), $ 300,000 per episode the fifth, and $ 350,000 per episode in the sixth and seventh seasons, as well as .25% of the lucrative backend deal.

While I cannot quote you the terms of their new contracts, I am certain there are clauses within them regarding maintaining the actors’ physical appearances and well being. In other words, they are probably prohibited by contract from certain hazardous activities. There was a recent fear over the effect Charlie Sheen’s possible incarceration for holing a knife to his wife’s throat would have on fulfilling Two and a Half Men’s multi-million dollar two season episode order. Ad star behavior can be devasting within the economics of television production. Eve insurance covering contract breaches do not often prevent major lawsuits over the cash.

Bottom lie--betcha Cuoco will not ride another horse until The Big Bang Theory ends its original run.

(Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday)