Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Joe Scarborough v. Sarah Palin

Joe Scarborough takes to Politico to write a scathing op-ed advising the Republican party to get rid of Sarah Palin before she does something terrible--like become the 2012 nominee. Scarborough is short on rationale arguments for his position. He offers absolutely no suggestions what the GOP ought to do about Palin. Tell her to go back into the kitchen, I guess. What he does offer are a lot of ad hominem arguments.

If you would like his editorial summed up as rationally as I can make it, Palin is too much of a grassroots, anti-establishment candidate to win the nomination. Since the elections last month proved there is absolutely no anti-establishment feeling among the electorate, Scarborough is spot on there, right?

I am thinking the same thing you are. It sounds like palin is what the electorate would like to have. Why not groom her as opposed to trying to force her out of the picture? Why is she such a threat. To answer that, let us look at the bulk of Scarborough’s argument.

Scarborough talks about the usual objections--Palin quit the only major political office she has held to become a media personality and reality star. Big deal. So did Barack Obama, when you get right down to it. For better or worse, it worked for him. What about Scarborough’s preferred candidate, Mitt Romney? He opted not to make a certain to fail reelection bid as Massachusetts governor in order to do..what precisely? Years of media appearances, speaking engagements, and book promotions, all of which look pitiable comparing to Palin’s, and she has been at them half as long.

When it gets right down to it, Scarborough is simply angry Palin has had the nerve to challenge the pecking order. Need I remind you said pecking order is the one that declared Bob Dole and John McCain presidential nominees. Specifically, Scarborough is mad Palin claimed if an actor like Ronald Reagan can be president, so can she, that Bush 41 is an out of touch blue blood, and Bush 43 wrecked the economy. Here is the problem with Scarborough’s irritation with palin’s sentiments--she is right on all counts.

Ronald Reagan was an actor, and a B-movie actor at that. I understand he had been a governor, just like Palin, and the president of a labor union. If you believe serving as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild is a feather in the cap og a presidential candidate, tell me which of the following former SAG presidents you would support for high public office:

Melissa Gilbert
William Daniels (He played a talking car!)
Patty Duke
Ed Asner (Never met a commie he did not like.)

One has to live down one’s association with SAG. If it somehow offsets a starring role in Bedtime for Bonzo, I am lost as to how. Nor am I certain how Sarah Palin’s Alaska is somehow less legitimate. Or, for that matter, Bristol Palin competing on Dancing with the Stars v. Ron Reagan dancing in his underwear, a la Risky Business era tom Cruise on Saturday Night Live

That, by the way, would be the same Saturday Night Live which just about everyone mentioned in Scarborough’s essay has appeared on--except scarborough himself. Could that be the root of his problem? The guy does work for NBC. How hard could arranging a cameo be? I am being snaky there. Romney has not been on the show, either. In Scarborough’s eyes, that must be a plus in his favor. I wonder how Scarborough feels about the diminishment of the presidency with Bill Clinton playing the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show, Bush 43 reading a David Letterman Top Ten, or Obama challenging Mythbusters to put Archimedes to the test? Welcome to the new way of connecting with the people which has replaced the Divine right of kings, you bitter clinger, you.

As for Bush 41 being out of touch, where was Scarborough when the president went from a surefire reelection after the Gulf War victory to losing to Clinton because he simply could not connect with domestic issues? They were mundane, boring. Shaping a new world order. Now that was the ticket. A ticket out of the White House so an old man can have plenty of free time to imagine a world made in his image.

Finally, as much as I hate to said like a blame it all on Bush 4\3 Democrats, he lead the free spending GOP into economic oblivion with total impotency in improving the situation the final three years of his presidency. While Obama and the Democrats bear the blame for continuing incompetence, Palin is right. Bush 43 is not blameless.

So what can we conclude from Scarborough’s rant? Palin’s playing the political game under modern rules and playing it well, but she is not playing it the Inside the Beltway. Method Does comparing herself to Reagan, or criticizing the Bushes damage her credibility among the rank and file voters? Is she really an embarrassment because of her media exploits? Considering the zeitgeist , I cannot imagine so. Maybe to the political dinosaurs. That, I think, is the root of Scarborough’s problem. Reality is changing for the old guard. If Palin is successful, they become extinct. That is scarborough’s real problem. He is not afraid a nominated Palin will lose in 2012. He is really scared she will win.

X-Files--"Young at Heart"

“Young at Heart” digs a little deeper into Mulder’s professional past. As with Boggs a couple episodes ago, we discover another guy Mulder help put away who has an axe to grind. This time, it is more personal for Mulder.

Mulder is called to the aftermath of a jewelry store robbery by his old supervisor, Reggie Purdue. The robber left a note specifically taunting Mulder. It is from a guy named John Barnett. Mulder helped capture Barnett on his very first case, but in trying to protect a hostage, another agent was killed by Barnett. Mulder blames himself, though he followed regulations, and his personal rage at himself is something Barnett has enjoyed tweaking. Here is the thing--Barnett has been dead for five years.

Although he supposedly died in prison, Barnett has been leaving hints he is stalking Mulder. As the ultimate proof, he sneaks into Purdue’s home and strangles him while he is on the phone with Mulder. Barnett plans to hunt down and murder all his friends.

Through investigation, Mulder and Scully discover Barnett was being secretly experimented on by a research doctor named Ridley. Ridley had his medical license revoked a decade before for performing inhumane experiments on children suffering from progenia, the disease that causes premature aging. Ridley was obsessed with reversing the aging process. His success prompted secret government funding and a fresh supply of prisoners ton whom to experiment. Barnett was one such prisoner. He has managed to hide his survival because he looks twenty years younger.

Thrown into the mix is a tifbit he lost his right hand during the experiments. Ridley grew him another one from salamander scales. It strikes me as strange to throw that in to a character who is already an extraordinary villain for having literally grown younger, but there you go. Perhaps it was thrown in there solely to make the scene in which he strangles Purdue from the shadows, with the salamander hand clearly visible, more disturbing. It worked in that regard.

Barnett stole Ridley’s research. He is negotiating with the government to sell it to them while tracking the next of Mulder’s friends to die--Scully. Bet you did not see that coming. He is going to kill her at a recital. The FBI prepare an ambush for him. The ambush winds up a repeat of the original capture. This time, Mulder does not hesitate because of the hostage and shoots Barnett. He dies on the operating table in spite of the medical team’s best effort to save him. The Cigarette Smoking Man is one of those aiding them, so the government was eager for him to survive so he can reveal the location of Ridley’s research notes. Alas, the secret dies with Barnett.

Scully has no apparent flash of recognition for the Cigarette Smoking Man even though he sat in on her initial interview in the Pilot. This is the second time something she was introduced to in the pilot is unfamiliar to her later. The other thing being Samantha Mulder’s abduction, which Mulder told her about, but she appeared to just be learning about in “Conduit.” It serves as another hint the pilot may not be canon.

In spite of the strange, tacked on element of the salamander hand, “Young at Heart” is a good episode. Dating Mulder’s career the way it has is a bit implausible--how he manages to go from a fledgling agent to enjoying carte blanch on the X-Files five years out of Quantico strikes me as highly implausible. Oh, well. It is television. Entertaining television.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kate Hudson

Monday, November 29, 2010

Irvin Kershner (1923-2010)

The director of The Empire Strikes Back, which is still the best Star Wars film, has died.

Things Were Going Fine, Then Jesus Made Me Fumble

You know how some running back will catch a pass, run it for a 75 yard touchdown, then give God all the credit after five minutes of doing the King Tut Butt Stru in end zone celebration? As if God is so petty, He would be against the other team in such a manner. I have always wondered--if some athletes are so quick to give God credit for good plays, are there any out there who will blame Him for the bad plays?

The answer is yes.

Buffalo Bill Stevie Johnson blames God for his dropping the ball yesterday, allowing the Pittsburgh Steelers to win by a field goal. We are talking about a serious crisis of faith here.

We are also talking about how theology and sports do not mix, even if the Twitter post is a joke/hoax.

X-Files--"Lazarus"

In what will become a running theme throughout the series, Scully is kidnapped, thereby inadvertently becoming part of an X-File. (Though, out of respect for Scully, Mulder hides the extraordinary elements of the case.) We also meet on of the two older male colleagues with whom she has carried on a romantic relationship. If it is not too much of a spoiler at this point, the guy dies during the course of the episode, meaning both mulder and Scully have lost close friends in the line of duty this season.

Scully is working with her old colleague Jack Willis in thwarting a bank robbery which Willis received an anonymous tip is about to happen. It is to be perpetrated by the husband and wife team, Warren Dupre and Lula Phillips. Dupre is supposed to hold up the bank with Phillips serving as the getaway driver. Scully and Willis stop the robbery in progress, but both Dupre and Willis are mortally wounded.

Willis is revived by heroic measures, but it is Dupre’s corpse that reacts to the treatment. Dupre’s consciousness entered Willis’ body at the moment of willis’ near death experience. Willis has a miraculous recovery, secretly escaping the hospital with the wedding ring he took from his old corpse by cutting off the finger. Wildly enough, Mulder already suspects the body transfer because the surgical scissors utilized were left handed (Willis is a righty), the ring was specifically sought after for obviously emotional reasons, and he is Mulder. He is a genius like that.

Inhabiting another mind in the manner Dupre has causes severe psychotic behavior. Dupre was not exactly a pussy cat to begin with. Scully wants to believe her friend is okay, but Mulder keeps subtly putting him to the test to prove he is willis. While he fails all of them, Scully clings onto her belief.

Willis hunts down and kills his brother-in-law, whom he believes was the anonymous tip to the FBI. He continues looking for Phillips. When he finds her, Scully tags along for the arrest. Willis finally reveals himself as Dupre when they find Phillips. They kidnap Scully and hold her for ransom while Willis tries to convince his wife who he really is.

Mulder is tipped off to where Scully is being held because Dupre, who was unaware Willis is diabetic, is not suffering from insulin shock because he is in Willis’ body, forcing Phillips to rob a drug store. Out of all the confusing weirdness of the episode, this one puzzles me the most. Phillips commit’s the robbery and brings back the insulin, but refuses to give it to the rapidly deteriorating Willis. She was the anonymous tip to the FBI. She wanted him out of the picture so she could run off with all the money they had stolen up until that point. But if she wanted him to die of insulin shock, why bother to rob the store, especially she blew her location in the process? It was the only way Mulder could find Scully, I guess, so the writers did it. Willis/Dupre does die of insulin shock as the FBI rescues Scully.

“Lazarus” is a decent enough episode. The illogical resolution could have been handled much better. I am also curious why Dupre did not suspect his wife’s betrayal much earlier. Blinded by love, maybe? Call this one flawed, but entertaining in spite.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Ellen Pomepo

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen (1926-2010)

The dramatic actor and Olivier of spoofs has died.

Godspeed, Mr. Nielsen.

Formspring Question # 60--Gotta Have Faith Edition

What is your strongest reason for being Christian?
Correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect you are looking for a non-Biblical answer. but you are asking a Biblical question. My strongest argument for being a Christian is because I have faith that it is true. I can go into specifics later, like why I am a Calvinist, if you wish. I think you want a natural proof for why I believe in a supernatural thing. There has not been such a thing. Circumstantial evidence and personal experience, yes. enough to accept that faith is Christianity is reasonable.

I will tell you this. in all my past discussions with skeptics, I have never gotten a decent answer as to the question of the origins of matter. Certainly, that puzzle leans towards evidence for deism than the Christian God specifically, but it does present a natural problem in general.

If you want to give me a more specific question about why Christianity, I am game to give it a shot answering.

Formspring Question # 59--Obama-rama Edition

Best quality about Obama? Worst quality about Obama?
I think Barack Obama is a decent guy at heart. He has good intentions. He wants more people to have healthcare coverage. He would like to make peace with militant Muslims. He wants clean energy for the future. No one would argue having these things would be great. Obama is just not realistic about how to get them or even if they can be achieved.

It is Obama’s worst quality that blinds him to that fact--he is extremely arrogant. A diagnosable narcissistic personality disorder, I would imagine. It has been made very clear from past speeches he believes the universe revolves around him. His speech to the Olympic committee was all about his past enjoyment of the Olympics. His speech about the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down somehow connected that monumental event with a black man becoming the United states president. He is the culmination of all human history.

His snubbing and/or bullying of allies, careless jokes, and belief in pulling off grandiose plans for the future with no idea how to implement them are all indications of his arrogance. Things should get done, because that is what he wants. Social gaffes are all right, because he did them. Concepts should become reality, because he thinks they should. Sometimes, I feel sorry for how badly he is embarrassing himself and our country.

Formspring Question # 58--Choose Life Edition

Are you in support of abortion rights or not, and why?
No, I do not support abortion rights beyond one being a medical necessity to save the mother’s life, which is a rare case. I am even sliding away from making exceptions in the case of rape or incest. I used to allow for those in my anti-abortion stance out of a sense of mercy for the child, but killing a child in the name of mercy is not justified. A child born out of rape or incest is a tragedy, but not, I think, as big a one as murdering him or her.

The numbers we are talking about here are very small:
Only 1% are performed because of rape or incest;
1% because of fetal abnormalities;
3% due to the mother's health problems.
That leave 95% of abortions done as birth control. rationalizing abortion as a birth control method is morally repugnant. If a woman demands control over her own body, her efforts ought to begin with not getting pregnant in the first place.

Abortion is a barbaric practice in general. From the decision to have one to the procedure itself and the rare, but still in existence Born Alive Acts meant to finish off any baby who survives an abortion, there is nothing good about abortion. Forty-six million of them have been performed since 1973. The number of children aborted is equal to the population of Spain. You cannot call that anything but genocide.

It is even worse when you consider the vast number of abortions are performed on minorities. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has admitted one of the rationales behind Roe was the ethnic cleansing of minorities. Social Darwinism has no place in a civilized society, much less should be considered an enlightened, intellectual stance.

If you want a personal rationale, here goes. On a Biblical basis, the 139th p\Psalm, written by David, notes that God is aware of all the days of David’s life, even before he was formed in the womb. Christians must accept the belief of preexistence, not just life beginning at conception. Science supports the concept of life beginning at conception, as well. Basic high school biology--when a cell splits, it is alive. The reality renders all arguments regarding viability or abortion as a civil right moot.

Formspring Question # 57--The Matter with Antimatter Edition

Are you as geek-tasticly excited about the anti-matter thing as I am?
As a potential clean energy source, yes. As a potential weapon, no.

Blogroll Spotlight # 70

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--Persephone, the Goddess of Hades, and the Beautiful Bride of Grief

American Perspective--Confused About Net Neutrality

Amusing Bunni's Musings--Bunni's Thanksgiving joy and Fun--Videos Galore

Camp of the Saints--Rule 5 Saturday: Raquel Welch

Classic Liberal--Understanding the Tom DeLay "Money Laundering" Verdict

Current--If I Was King for a Day

Da Tech Guy--More Than Just a wiff of Fascism

Daley Gator--Six Arrested in New Jersey After Antiviolence March Turns Violent

Doc Rampage--In Defense of Saw Audiences

Five Feet of Fury--How the term "Islamophobia" got Shoved Down Your Throat

Gorge's Grouse--Thanksgiving

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--You're Just Aren't Listening

Jaded Haven--I Smell Sex and Candy

Well, then...

Lazy Farmer--I Read Books

Mind Numbed Robot--Rule 5 Saturday--Christina Aguilera

Nice Deb--The Left Circles the Wagons for TSA Gropers

No Sheeples Here!--Child Emperor Plays Basketball While China and North Korea Scheme

Other McCain--Who Speaks for America?

Paco Enterprises--Good Old Al, He Wouldn't Lie to the World, Would He?

Pirate's Cove--Global Warming Has Slowed Due to Pollution

Proof Positive--Simon Says Obama gets Street Cred for Busted Lip

Troglopundit--Black Friday: Get Out There and Smell the Capitalism

Washington Rebel--Penny Penny Penny Penny

Penny:
Wolfe Reports--Ca$h for Cam

Wright Mind--Perhaps It's Time to End the TSA

Yankee Phil--A World of Stupid

X-Files--"Gender Bender"

Well, dear readers, we have reached the lowest point of the first season. “Gender-bender” set out to do two things. One, to sex up the show. Other than a brief glimpse of Scully in her underwear in the pilot, the series has been remarkably chaste up until this point. Two, to offer a surprise ending which would really shock the audience. It fails on both attempts.

Someone with abnormally high pheromone has been picking up both men and women in several large cities in the mid-Atlantic area and literally…uh…sexing them to death. The thing is, the murderer appears to be able to assume both male and female form. There is nothing sexy about any of it. The scenes are dark, grimy, and brutal . It is true the victims are supposed to have an inability to resist his or her sexual urges on a biological level, but this is television. The murderer needs some sex appeal if s/he is supposed to seduce victims.

The story starts to go way out there when some clay on the latest victim is traced to an Amish-like group in Massachusetts called the Kindred who make their living mining the stuff. Mulder and Scully visit. There are some photographic clues the Kindred do not age. There are also clues they are some sort of demonic cult, as the agents discover them performing some kind of ritual over a member who has suffered a heart attack. But mostly, they are just walking aphrodisiacs. A good, that, because they are all quite plain.

The killer, Martin, is one of them. One day, he found some nudie magazines someone had thrown out and decided he was all about that sort of thing. So he left the Kindred to screw people to death. In the end, the Kindred catches up with Martin first. They take him away, presumably back to their community. When the Fbi arrives, they find no trace of the Kindred. Just a big crop circle. Roll credits.

Yeah, that is it. They Kindred sex crazed, shape shifting aliens posing as the Amish. If that does not explain to you why the episode is awful, nothing will. There is no foreshadowing of any kind. It looks like the writers were running out of time, so they needed an abrupt ending. But the ending comes from so far out of left fielf--pardon the pun--it feels like a crop out--er, I mean cop out.

I advise even the most dedicated of X-phile to steer clear. There is nothing worth seeing here. In fact, since Nicholas Lea makes a brief appearance before joining the cast as Alexander Krycek next season, you should skip it just so his “reappearance” does not come across as implausible.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Eva Longoria

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This Week at Apocalypse Cinema

Reviews for:

The Bucket List
School of Rock
Shallow Hal
The Delta Force

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 74

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

Classic Liberal links to Hayden Panettiere and Scarlett Johansson. Classic Liberal also links to If You Could Do It All Over Again, Would You Change Anything?

The Current links to Palin Derangement Syndrome Extends Beyond Sarah.

Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA # 73, Blogroll Spotlight # 69, and Hayden Panettiere.

Yankee Phil links to Hayden Panettiere and Kaley Cuoco.

Angelina Jolie News links to Angelina Jolie.

No Sheeples Here! includes the Eye in her Sumpthin' 4 Mutton.

Blood Flix links to Formspring Question # 55.

Mind Numbed Robot shows the Robo-Love

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.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 24--What Would You Regret Not Having Done?

I hate to sound like an uber-cynic here, but when the end comes, I doubt I will regret anything. It is part of my whatever will be, will be philosophy. At least in terms of choosing paths. Life is unpredictable. It is difficult to regret not making a different choice because you do not know if your new direction would turn out worse.

If I will regret anything, it will likely be that God's grace will not forgive my lapses in moral judgment. Everyone has that crisis of faith. We hurt other people simply by existing. How can you avoid doubt with that knowledge?

Otherwise, all things pass away eventually no matter what choices you made. Why waste time regretting them--especially when time is near the end?

X-Files--"Beyond the Sea"

“Beyond the Sea” ranks as my favorite episode of the first season and one of my top favorites of the series. It is appealing for a couple reasons. One, Scully is the main character for the first time. There is a juxtaposition between her and Mulder. He plays the skeptic in the case while she struggles with accepting psychic phenomena. Two, there are echoes of The Silence of the Lambs throughout. I am fascinated by that film. Any homage, intentional or otherwise, that can hold its own earns high marks from me. Plus, Scully is said to be based loosely on Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling from the film. It is in this episode you see that is likely true.

Scully’s parents come visit her at Christmas. A few hours after they leave, Scully sees a ghostly image of her father in her living room. He mouths something to her, but no sound comes out. A few moments later, she gets a phone call from her mother that her father has suffered a fatal heart attack. His ashes are buried at sea, with Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” playing.

Rather than take time off, Scully decides to travel with Mulder to North Carolina on a case. Luther Lee Boggs, a serial killer Mulder help put on death row, claims that he can channel spirits who can help find the latest victims of another kidnapping serial killer before, in fitting with his pattern, they are murdered in five days. Mulder thinks Boggs is orchestrating a ruse in order to have his sentence commuted to life, but when boggs calls her by her father’s nickname for him, she is shaken.

Scully is further shaken when Boggs’ channeling leads her to evidence the kidnap victims were once located in an abandoned building and, eventually, to one of the victims. Mulder is inclined to think Boggs is in cahoots with an outside partner, but when he is seriously wounded, she goes it alone, with Boggs perhaps having the upper hand.

What happens after Mulder is taken out of the picture is what reminds of The Silence of the Lambs. The tense confrontation between Scully and Boggs, Scully lying to him about a deal to get him to talk, and him subtly revealing the other kidnap victim’s location before he can be murdered are all elements from the film, yet done with a unique X-Files flavor. Very well done, I might add.

Boggs promises to reveal the message Scully’s father was trying to give her as a vision the night he died if she witnesses his execution. But she has already rationalized away his ability to channel spirits, so refuses to attend. In one of the most chilling scenes in the series, Boggs is marched to the gas chamber in full view of the ghosts of all the people he has murdered.

Scully’s father is played by Don. S. Davis, so there is a nod for any Stargate SG-1 fans irked I am not likely to review that series. Boggs is chillingly played by Brad Dourif. He will go onto play Suder, another serial killer, on Star Trek: Voyager. One can only assume Boggs is the reason he got that role. Thank heaven he did. Boggs is one of the best one off villains in the serries. I think very highly of “Beyond the Sea.”

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Mila Kunis

Friday, November 26, 2010

Formspring Question # 56--Biller Chiller Edition

So just to clarify, you don't like Kenneth Biller?
No, I do not like Kenneth Biller. He is responsible for some of the worst Trek episodes ever. Worse yet, he was stuck on VOY, so he does not have work on better trek series to somewhat redeem himself like Brannon Braga and Rick Berman do.

Look at the damage this guy has done:
"Faces"--If the Vidiians can perform such advanced genetic experiments like splitting one person into two, why do they not clone the healthy organs they need instead of harvesting from aliens?

"Twisted"--The story is not resolved, it just...ends.

"Tuvix"--Janeway kills a being created by accidentally fusing two main characters. She does so when the Doctor refuses the action as a violation of medical ethics.

"The Q and the Grey"--"Continuity? What continuity? no way was it established the Q have children three years ago. Wait...you mean it was? will Trekkies notice that sort of thing?"

"Virtuoso"--The only Doctor on the ship, who happens to also be a hologram, decides to leave for a career as an opera singer.

"Endgame"--Time travel story with no attempt at logic whatsoever. Thank heavens it was the final episode.
These are just off the top of my head. Biller wrote twenty or so episodes, if I am not mistaken. Terrible, illogical, continuity-busting episodes.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 23--Time or Money?

Money. I have more time than I know how to properly fill. My imagination could run far wilder with a larger bankroll.

Rich, lonely, and potentially near death woman should drop me a line.

X-Files--"Fire"

“Fire” features a young Mark Sheppard, cynical lawyer Romo Lampkin from Battlestar Galactica, as a pyromaniac who can create fire with his mind. Even as far back as 1994, he already had the psychopath bad guy role down pat. The itself is interesting on many levels, but feels a bit incomplete at the same time.

Sheppard plays Cecil L’ively, a guy who has a short history of taking on jobs as the gardener, handyman, or chauffeur for wealthy British families and eventually kills the patriarch by setting him on fire. The only connection Scotland Yard can find between the murders is that L’ively sends love letters to his victims’ wives. A potential victim, Malcolm Marsden, flees with his family to his summer home in Massachusetts when his garage catches fire.

Phoebe Green, a Scotland Yard inspector, travels to the united States with him under the assumption the assumption lively will follow. She is an old flame of Mulder’s--pardon the reference. The episode has a theme going--from his Oxford University days. She lies to play mind games with him. It is revealed Mulder has an intense fear of fire because of a childhood incident. Green knows about it and therefore wants torment him with it.

L’ively works as the handyman for Marsden. He spends much of the episode painting the house in rocket fuel while scoping out Mrs. Marsden. He also appears to have a fascination with her two young boys. This is one of the elements I find incomplete. The psychological profile of the unknown to Mulder and Green arsonist is that he is sexually immature. Fire excites and his fascination with older, unreachable women is a result of his immaturity. Men who have that problem are often pedophiles. If L’ively was supposed to have pedophilic desires or he was making attempts to get the kids out of the way so he can have Mrs. Marsden to himself is not made clear.

Once he is identified, there is an impressive confrontation at the Marsden home with full pyrotechnic glory. It was done with a combination of real pyrotechnics--in one seen while facing off with Mulder across a hallway which he lights on fire, Sheppard clearly ducks out of the way to avoid the intense heat before the walls and ceiling burst into flames--and green screen work, both of which are impressive for the time period and relatively low first season budget. In the end, lively is doused with rocket fuel and accidentally immolates himself. Under arrest later in a hospital hyperbolic chamber, his completely charred body is steadily on its way to a full recovery.

I already talked about L’ively’s ambiguous interest in the boys as an incomplete aspect of the episode. Another is the way Green is portrayed. She is a manipulative witch who is literally jerking Mulder around for the heck of it. There are also hints she is having an affair with Marsden that are thrown in the mix during the third act. There are further hints she might become a recurring character, but that never pans out. The character does not resonate like she is obviously supposed to do. She does serve to make Scully jealous, so the ’shippers get something out of it.

As a dedicated X-Phile, I ought to know this, but does Mulder’s paralyzing fear of fire ever come up again in the future? I do not recall it ever doing so. Creator Chris Carter wrote “Fire,” so the aspect of the character comes from the head man himself. Now that I have pointed out I do not remember Mulder’s fire of fire ever being mentioned again, someone will point out a famous instance from a popular episode I will instantly remember once it is brought to my attention.

In spite of some flaws, I can see why “Fire” is a popular episode itself. Sheppard plays a great villain. There are loads of exciting action scenes, more so than the norm. It is a definite highlight of the first season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Billie Piper

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Formspring Question # 55--Silver Screen v. Idiot Box Edition

Who would win: the cast of the last movie you saw vs. the cast of the last television show you watched?
That is easy. The cast of the last movie I watched. I watched The Delta force yesterday in order to write a review. The last television show I watched was a Family Guy rerun on Cartoon Network.

While Peter Griffin has held his own fighting a giant chicken on several occasions, he is no match for Chuck norris and Lee Marvin. Chuck and lee have Joey Bishop, Shellie Winters, Bo Svenson, and george Kennedy for back up. I do not believe the Griffinses would have a prayer.

On the other hand, Stewie might have a formidable weaspon up his sleeve, but he has been defeated by Lois before. Joe Swanson is pretty tough in spite of being wheelchair bound. It is blasphemous to speculate he might give Chuck norris a run for his money? It is best to not risk it. I shall stick to my original answer.

A Charlie Brown Segregated Thanksgiving

Notice they all huddle together as much as possible so Franklin has to sit by himself, except for that one anonymous girl who has moved close enough to satisfy her progressive instincts, but not so close she has to have anything to do with him. A Charlie brown Thanksgiving aired in 1973, so do not tell me the seating arrangement was a compromise to avoid controversy.

You racist b*st*rds! /Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 22--Are You Aware Others Have It Worse Than You?

Yes, but I am not going to lie to you by saying that makes me feel any better. I am as conceited as anyone else. When I hear 25,000 drowned in a Bangladeshi typhoon, it does not bother me a fraction as much as when my cat is not feeling well. Not to sound like a heartless jerk, but there is only so much high emotional to go around before it comes across as insincere. We all have our own crosses to bear. Reacting too emotionally about mine is not something I do, much less compare my load with someone else.’s.

My mother spent a great deal of her final years wallowing in self-pity over suffering what she considered more than her fair share of misfortune. She decided at some point that when you reach rock bottom, things do not always go up from there. So she ended it, abruptly and permanently, almost eight years ago.

I am not her by any stretch of the imagination. I am tougher, far less of an idealist, and uninclined to seek whatever solace there allegedly is in alcohol. Being fully aware that we are all at the mercy of time and chance, I neither crow too much over victories, nor mourn too much over losses. My mother used to do both those things obnoxiously. In some ways, watching her behavior robbed me of the habit, for better or worse.

The result is an internal conflict. When bad things happen, I want to curl up in a fetal position for a week, but a little voice inside me says I cannot always get what I want, even if that means eyesight or a healthy colon. It is not like not getting a pony for my birthday, no? On the other hand, I also take to heart Jack Nicholson’s speech in As Good as It Gets in which he said no one is ever upset about how bad they have it bad. They are upset because other people have it good. So what am I really upset about?

Harkening back to one of these questions from earlier this week about friends talking to me the same way I talk to myself, I had a college buddy who gave a cushy student government position to a pretty girl in a short skirt rather than to the more qualified me. When I confronted him about it, he told me we do not always get what we want. To clarify--the guy was talking down to me like a four year old. He did not pat me on the head and send me on my merry way, but he might as well have. I told him to take a good look at my crippled body and explain why he would think I did not have a better grasp on that concept than him. It shut him up for the duration of our college years. It has been thirteen years and I still can hear his words today echo in my mind when something bad happens. We don’t always get what we want. I am confident she never slept with him, so maybe he has a firm grip on the concept these days himself.

There is no easy answer to this questions implication that I am taking blessings for granted or crying over things that do not matter. I am a prisoner inside the only shell of flesh I am ever going to get. This moment in time is only going to come around once. Without any second chances, do you not have the right to be upset, no matter how frivolous your misfortune may seem to someone else? I am honestly not certain where the appropriate line is.

I grew up around kids who’s worst nightmare was not getting the right tuxedo for the prom while another was hoping his father would pass out drunk on the couch and not beat up for making a D on his chemistry test. The only thing I could ever think about it is I am glad I am not as petty as the former or on razor’s edge like the latter. What they thought of my reactions to life’s peaks and valleys is a mystery to me. It looks like we all really do go it alone, whether under ort overburdened.

X-Files--"Eve"

I do not know if I will ever work up the nerve to review Star Trek: Voyager, but if I do, you are going to hear the name Kenneth Biller a lot. Biller was responsible for some of the worst episodes of that series. He is the writer for “Eve,” as well. Surprisingly, it is an effectively entertaining episode. Unsurprisingly, it was heavily rewritten by Glenn Morgan and James Wong, who wrote some of the best X-Files episodes. So there is a strong possibility Biller screwed this script up, too. Therefore, it might be good solely because Morgan and Wong salvaged it. If you cannot tell, VOY reviews would often be drafted by poison pen.

A man is murdered in his backyard by having 75% of the blood drawn out of his body. Two puncture marks near the jugular are the only evidence remaining, aside from his young daughter, Cindy, who claims she saw nothing. Mulder becomes involved when he notes similarities with cattle mutilations and suspects alien involvement. When he and Scully learn another murder of the same type occurred on the west coast at the same time, they investigate that one, too, only to find out not only was his little girl present, butTeena looks exactly like Cindy.

(Before anyone snickers, her name is spelled with two E’s, not an “I.” Morgan and wong named the girl’s after their wives. I assume she had parents who thought avoiding traditional name spellings is cute.)

Deep Throat conveniently shows up to fill in all the exposition we need to further the plot. Since bringing him in was the only way to do so, I figure that is good enough evidence to declare Biller screwed the script originally. Deep throat tells Mulder that US intelligence got wind cloning experiments being done in the Soviet Union in the ‘60’s attempting to create super soldiers. The US tried it, too. They named the cloned boys Adam and the girls Eve. Breathtakingly original, huh? Classic Biller. The project was scrapped when the children developed psychotic behavior at the onset of puberty.

Eve 6 survived the government purge/cover up and become a fertility doctor who decided to clone herself. Teena and Cindy are some of the results Predictably, all the eves are psychotic. The two little girls killed their fathers, eventually kill her, and attempt to kill Mulder and Scully before the truth is discovered and they get locked up in a mental hospital.

I do not mean to sound down on the episode. I am just down on Biller. I had forgotten he wrote for the series. My heart sank when I saw his name in the credits. But lucky for us, the script was heavily rewritten. Kids can be scary and for some reason, having them as twins is even scarier. Judging by the nameplates on the cell doors, there have been at least ten of them of various ages, all psychotically loony. It is effectively disturbing enough to salvage what could have been another Biller dud.

The now defunct band Eve 6 got its name from this episode. I searched YouTube for one of their songs to embed, but they only had two hits: “Inside Out“ and “Here‘s to the Night.” Neither of them tickled my tuckus. No wonder the band broke up.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Rare Luck of a Pardoned Turkey

Turkeys are for eating, drawing with your hand, and not much else.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 21--If You Had to Teach Something, What Would It Be?

I would be best at history or political science.

My favorite historical subjects are World War II, the American Civil War, the Napoleonic War, sancient, and Christian church history. I could probably fit a few of those in, if I had tenure.

As for political science, I would choose political philosophy or comparative politics. in the former, I could teach the great and not so great political thinker. With the latter comes a lot of international topics of interest.

If I was fortunate enough to become a law professor, i would choose civil procedure. It is a 1l class and absurdly technical rather than theoretical, but i am a geek like that.

You will note all these possibilities are at least on the college level. I do not care how much fun Jack Black was having teaching in School of Rock, I will not babysit a bunch of brats for peanuts forty hours a week plus lesson plans at home. Forget it.

X-Files--"Fallen Angel"


“Fallen Angel” is one of the most pivotal episodes of the X-Files mythology. It foreshadows three key events. One, the existence of The Lone Gunmen, a group of amateur enthusiasts of Ufology and other such unexplained phenomena. Two, the eventual fate of Deep Throat for assisting Mulder along. Finally, the closing of the X-Files in the season finale in order to curtail Mulder’s activities. I shall elaborate as we go along.

At the behest of Deep Throat, Mulder goes AWOL to visit what is publicly being called a toxic clean up by the military, but is a UFO landing instead. The military is covering up both that truth and the dozen or so bodies of law enforcement and military who have been fatally burned beyond all recognition by the on the loose alien.

Mulder is captured and thrown in a stockade where he meets Max Feng, a UFO enthusiast. Feng is part of NICAP, an amatuer0 group like The Lone Gunmen who are attempting to uncover the connection between the government and aliens. Mulder comes to believe Feng has been abducted by aliens himself because of a distinctive scar behind his right ear, but Scully, when she eventually arrives, dismisses the idea because Feng has been institutionalized before for hallucinations.

Mulder refuses to leave, but the two agents get no where carrying on an investigation near the quarantined landing site. Col. Henderson, your stereotypical gung ho military lunk head , inhibits them at every turn. The two aspects of the story collide when Mulder figures out the alien is after Feng, not the other way around. Feng is mysteriously kidnapped from a warehouse after a spectacular light show by an alien we never get to see. We will, however, see Feng again in the fourth season. Somewhere around March or April, I would guess.

Mulder is brought up for a disciplinary hearing in which the X-Files is most certain to be closed because of his infiltration of the landing site. However, Deep throat intervenes in order to keep Mulder’s quest going. He rationalizes that, if he is at the Fbi, they can keep a close eye on his activities. Deep Throat will pay for his aaction soon.

“Fallen Angel” is one of the best of the season and series as a whole. Feng will become one of the most memorable guest stars. His experiences with aliens sets the tone for how many other will play out in future episodes. The presentation off the alien sets a precedent, as well. It remains out of sight in order to be scarier for the audiennce. It is a highly effective move. The alien kills effortlessly and is obviously horrifying to see. Such is best left to our imaginations to fill in the image of it.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Jessica Simpson

She is now engaged to marry Nick Johnson. With rumors flying she bought her own engagement ring, the cynics among us might wish to begin speculation on how long the marriage will last--assuming it gets to that point.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Miley Cyrus Just Turned 18

She looks like she is already careening down the Lindsay Lohan road, too.

Sally Quinn Exposes the Christian Conservative DWTS "Conspiracy" and Her Hypocrisy

Last night, I wrote about how elitists Kbelieve their losses are the result of the ignorant masses acting improperly. Well, here you go. Sally Quinn, The Washington Post's religion writer, not only loses her stuffing over Bristol Palin's success on Dancing with the Stars, but explains how she inflates her votes for Jennifer Grey in an attempt to knock Palin out of the competition:
Not only that, but I vote. Under the show's rules, you're allowed to vote five times on one line. I have six lines at home and my cell, so I vote as many times as I can for my favorite.
Quinn has six phone lines, which she uses to maximize her five voting opportunities per line, for a grand total of thirty votes. The rules allow for this, so i do not begrudge her for it, but if you read the rest of the coluimn, you will see how she accuses Christian conservatives of conspiratorial voting in order to put Palin over the top. This is immoral in quinn's mind because Palin is not a real dancer.

Do read the entire article. It is a hoot how Quinn squeezed Norman Lear's hand and cried when palin beat out Brandy last week. Oh, how she wishes those racist teabaggers did not vote, in reality shows or real elections!

(Via: Althouse)

Was It Ezekiel 25:25?

Ugly Betty actor murders his mother while shouting passages from the Bible.

This is the top story on We Search, a site that keeps track of trending showbiz topics currently being blogged. While it is certainly a sensational story with macabre appeal, I cannot help but think the Biblical passages are the hook. Anything to make Christians look mentally ill and dangerous. Nevermind this guy was clearly deranged regardless of his religion.

I hate to see this kind of stuff period, but exploited by those who hate Christians--Perez Hilton has been all over the story, for instance. darn Christians and their evil support of traditional marriage!--makes the tragedy even worse.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 20--What is the Difference Between Living and Existing?

Pleasures and a well drafted living will.

X-Files--"Space"

One of the dangers of reviewing a science fiction show that is nearly eighteen years old is how badly it can age in that time. “Space” is a key example. Looking at the photo above of the guest character, Col. Marcus Belt of NASA, do you notice the alien image that is ghosting over his face looks like the famous alleged face on mars photo? It is supposed to. Within recent years, we have now seen photos of the "face” which which show it is a rock formation that bears no resemblance to a face in the slightest. So much for the mystery behind this episode, no?

Even aside from that, “Space” is not all that great. The plot is that an alien has possessed a famous astronaut since a spacewalk in 1972. The alien has been using him to sabotage the space program ever since. Luckily for them, Col. Belt has become head of the shuttle program. The episode implies that Col. Belt has sabotaged everything from the Challenger to the Hubble in order to end the space program and keep the aliens’ existence a secret.

Mulder is approached by one of the scientists running the next shuttle mission because her fiance is the commander. She fears for his life because even though the shuttle has shown obvious safety problems in recent days, col. Belt insists on launching anyway. He is, of course, expecting a disaster.

There are quite a few problems with "Space.” A big one is why aliens allegedly from Mars care whether NASA performs routine experiments in orbi9t. In is not like the shuttle missions are deep space probes. Part of the X-Files' mythology is the highest levels of government know aliens exist anyway. How does the scientist know who Mulder is or why he would be the one to talk to? Are you aware of individual FBI agents and their fields of specialty? They do not advertise those things, even inside different federal agencies. The biggest one for me is why destroying this shuttle launch will end the space program when the Challenger, which Col. Belt was also responsible for, did not? None of this makes sense.

You want to know the corniest bit/ Mulder is responsible for saving the astronauts. No kidding. Yes, you can skip this one without missing a thing. Why Chris Carter himself wrote it is beyond me other than the notion he had not quite planned out the mythology at this early date.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Olivia Wilde

Monday, November 22, 2010

For the Elite, Loss is Always the Result of Conspiracy or the Riot of the Unwashed Hordes

I hear Bristol Palin earned 27 out of a possible 30 points tonight for her performance on Dancing with the Stars. that ought to be enough to silence the critics who claim she cannot dance, but I suspect it will not. Last week, they let slip less than subtle hints of racism when Bristol defeated Brandi. If she wins tomorrow night, I suppose the haters will blame Jennifer grey’s loss on her nose job. You know, voters could not tell they were backing Baby into a corner.

But seriously--shooting out your television set, sending envelopes of white powder, making death threats, or even complaining the show’s credibility will be ruined by a Bristol victory is not only deranged, but ought to make the powers that be at the show feel dirty those are the kind of people they are entertaining week after week.

Let me temper that statement a bit. I imagine the vast majority of Dancing with the Stars fans are decent people. What irritates me is that apparently elitist minority who believe the show belongs exclusively to them, so if their pony does not win the race, it is either a conspiracy or the unwashed hordes getting out of line.

Remember a couple years ago on American Idol when the flamboyantly gay musical theater actor Adam Lambert turned his weekly performance into a spectacle. Granted, he hit the mark a couple times, but most people tuned in to see what kind of freak show he was going to attempt top pull off. The same crowd that cannot tolerate Bristol doing well swore Lambert was a shoo in, but he was defeated by the clean cut, All American Kris Allen.

Critics screamed bloody murder that conservative Christians had voted en masse for Allen, not because he was talented or because they switched votes from similar contestants already eliminated, but that their politics and religion just could not tolerate seeing a gay kid win. If the Tea Party had been around then, that is the term that would have been tossed about for Allen’ supporters. If Bristol wins, said critics are likely to find their old Word documents, do a quick search and replace, and run the same articles they wrote back then. It will save time, at any rate.

keep in mind: the narrative of 2004 is Bush 43 stole the election by tampering with voting machines and disenfranchising black voters in a widespread epidemic, but four years later, Barack Obama won fair and square without anyone having rectified the dastardly executed circumstances surrounding Bush 43's previous victory. It is only their guy/gal who is the clear, honest winner.

It sounds like I am critiquing only progressives, but elitism is elitism. Much hay is being made over George F. Will’s blistering critique of Sarah Palin Sunday morning. What it boils down to is will has determined palin is too un-presidential because she shows up on television too often rather than staying in Alaska. Not that staying in Alaska would have improved her in his eyes. Will referred to Palin as Sancho Panza a scant few days after her selection as John McCain’s Veep. Will has also failed to explain how Ronald Reagan, a candidate he did debate preparation with, was not sullied by Bedtime for Bonzo while Sarah Palin’s Alaska is the death knell for her two years out.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 19--If Your Friends Talked to You the Same Way Your Internal Voice Does, How Long Would You Be Friends?

Not very long. I can think any way I need to in order to get through what I need to endure. More than likely, I would think it is none of your business to offer up the same sort of insight.

I have be me for nearly 34 years now. I am an expert on the subject. just what do you think you can offer up on it?

X-Files--"Ice"

If yesterday’s episode could be considered an homage to 2001: a space Odyssey because of the similarities between Hal and the COS, then “ice” is an homage to The Thing in both tone and feel. The key elements are there--an alien presence causes paranoia and distrust among people trapped in an Arctic research station.

Mulder and Scully are sent to the tip of northern Alaska to investigate the site at which a team of climate researchers turned on and then killed each other. The two agents will be escorting three medical researchers to determine the cause. When they arrive, the epidemiologist, played by a young Felicity Huffman, and the pilot are attacked by what appears to be a rabid dog. The dog is safely subdued. A medical exam shows it is not rabid, but is infected by a parasite.

The pilot, who was bitten by the dog, shows signs of psychotic aggression quickly, so it becomes apparent the original research team had become infected. The pilot dies upon the removal of the parasite, so everyone realizes they are now trapped there. The critter cannot be removed, so until some other cure can be found, they cannot leave or they will risk infecting the general population. The story becomes a claustrophobic nightmare as nerves fray. When tempers flare, everyone suspects everyone else of being infected. Mulder winds up the top suspect when he discovers one of the medical team dead.

Scully eventually discovers, when placing two jars containing parasites next to each other, the parasites will attempt to kill one another. The cure is to inject another parasite into an already infected person. Mulder is not infected, however. It turns out to be Huffman, who was presumably infected by handling blood samples. After a struggle, she is cured.

I am skeptical of the science here. While these are alien parasites brought to Earth by an asteroid crash 250,000 years ago and are unlike anything on Earth, it does not make since they reproduce by passing blood into another organism. Nor does it make since they automatically want to kill each other when fully grown. Sure, some animals will resort to cannibalism when food is scarce, but they do not normally kill each other just for the heck of it. If there is a parasite or some such on Earth like that, I am unaware of it.

Even if I am skeptical of the science, I enjoy “Ice.” It is a highlight of the first season in particular and the series in general. You have a fairly large cast full of already abrasive personalities because they do not want to be assigned to such a job in a high pressure situation, and in a confined area. The tiny, budget saving set is a asset which adds to the confined, fearful feeling. A great episode all around.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Anne Hathaway

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blogroll Spotlight # 69

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--The Address: Seven Score and Seven Years Ago

American Perspective--Jon Stewart Shreds Charlie Rangel

Amusing Bunni's Musings--Rule 5 Fun--Burlesque is Hot

Another Black Conservative--Here Comes the ABP (Anybody But Palin) Crowd

Big Feed--A Virtual Tour of London

Camp of the Saints--Rule 5: Crystal Smith

Classic Liberal--Government Psychopaths

Current--Video: Dramatic Stalking Cat

Da Tech Guy--Help Da Tech Guy Write Da Script for da Tech Guy on Da Radio

Daley Gator--Daley Babe

Gorge's Grouse--Doctors and Such Ilk

In a Mad Mad Mad Mad World--Motivation 2012

Jaded Haven--The Finer Side of Austin

Mind Numbed Robot--Veronica Zemanova

No Sheeples Here!--Return of the 25ft. Pelosi

Other McCain--The Devil Wears Nada

Pirate's Cove--Sorta blogless Sunday

Proof Positive--The Folly of Trials of Terrorists in Civilan Courts

Sniper--Some Photo Fun

Teresamerica--Socialism: Hand in Hand with Mob Violence

Troglopundit--This Week in Automotivators

Washington Rebel--Contemplating Death

What? It has been six weeks since I have posted some Nanci Griffith? Sure, I will post one of her videos. Here she is making John Prine's "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" her own.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 18--If You Could Do It All Over Again, Would You Change Anything?

If given a choice, I would not do it all over again period. For one thing, once is enough. For another, who knows what disastrous things could happen if you made a different choice and followed a different path? I am nothing one of those people stupid enough to think turning left instead of right on some random Tuesday would have meant the difference between becoming an eventual happily married millionaire or going blind from a detached retina. One is just as likely to be struck by a bus.

Quick wasting time playing the what if game. Whatever will be, will be. It is not ultimately up to you, anyway.

X-Files--"Ghost in the Machine"

Fans are generally divided on “Ghost in the Machine.” It is either loved or hated because it is not a traditional plot for the X-Files. There are no aliens, ghosts, or monsters of any kind. There is a government conspiracy aspect to it, but said aspect does not fit within the mythology of the series. It is not forced, but the story does not advance the mythology, either. I can see why more obsessive fans might dislike the episode, but I am quite fond of it.

The only major flaw I have with it is the truth is revealed in the teaser. The CEO of Euriska, a computer software company, announces he is terminating the COS project because it is losing money hand over fist. Unfortunately for him, COS is an artificial intelligence program which runs the entire building and it is so advanced, it has developed a survival instinct. The building kills the CEO in order to save itself.

Mulder’s old partner, Jerry Lamana, is assigned the case. He is eager to make a good impression because he coming off a screw up in which a federal judge was maimed because he lost evidence. He needs Mulder’s help . Mulder agrees out of respect for his friend, even though the guy is a real jerk.

Early on, the story deals largely with tension between the two. Lamana suffers from professional jealousy to the point the steals Mulder’s profile of the killer they are looking for and claims it is his work. Later, it shifts gears to the prime suspect, Bard Brad Wiczek, the designer of the COS and his guilt over creating it, considering how it eventually kills two people (Including Lamana) and becomes a target of desire for the government. All this rings a bit hollow in terms of excitement, since we know from the beginning the COS itself is the killer. Still, the drama is entertaining, if not preachy at time. Wiczek cites robert Oppenheimer’s guily over splitting the atom as his motivation for going to jail for life rather than handing over his AI tech skills to the government.

Wiczek does create a virus to destroy the COS, but it cannot be applied before the most famous bit in the episode--Scully v. the air conditioning system. An FBY agent’s harrowing work is never done. Her hair gets mussed in this charming ’I just had a roll in the hay” look that got all the fan boy hearts in a flitter.

It is pretty obvious the writers were trying hard not to make the COS into HAL from 2001: A Space odyssey. Maybe they were trying a little too hard. The COS could have used a more sinister personality. Nevertheless, I like “{Ghost in the Machine.” it manages to be an interesting episode by emphasizing the human drama. Quite an accomplishment when you consider we learn who the murderer is before the opening credits. There is a lot more action in the resolution than most episodes, to boot. Watching is a good time.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Angelina Jolie

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This Week at Apocalypse Cinema

Reviews for:

The Fly (1959)
The Fly (1986)
From Dusk 'Til Dawn
Waxwork
Gremlins
The Mummy (1932)
The Mummy (1959)
Freaks

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 73

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

Yankee Phil links to Anna Friel and Alessandra Torresani.

American Perspective notes my Farewell to Smitty.

The Current links to "New" Democrat Leadership: A Comedy of Errors

Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA # 72, Blogroll Spotlight # 68, Anna Friel, and Mila Kunis.

Washington Rebel acknowledges his Blogroll Spotlight # 68 inclusion.

The Guy in the Window added the Eye to his blogroll.

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.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 17--What Activities Can Make You Lose Track of Time?

Reading and writing. I used to get far more absorned into them both when my eyesight was comfortably functional. These days, I have to use a magnifier or an audio recording to handle the two. it takes more effort, so it can be difficult to absorb myself in either of them.

Sad, really. I have always been a bookworm with the desire to be a man of letters.

X-Files--"Shadows"

“Shadows” was written, much to the creators’ chagrin, at the behest of FOX. The network wanted Mulder and Scully to be more heroic in helping people resolve issues. The writers did a fairly good job of combining an actual crime the FBI would investigate with paranormal activity the show would normally feature, but it is a run of the mill affair compared to later efforts.

A secretary for a defense contractor named Lauren Kyle is attacked at an ATM by two assailants. The two are killed by an invisible force which crushes their throats from the inside. Mulder and Scully are called in because the bodies have a high electrical charge which has kept the corpses warm for hours after death. The agents in charge only want to know if Mulder has ever seen anything like this before in an X-File. It is not a very plausible means of getting Mulder and Scully interested in the case, but there you go.

Mulder lies and says he has never seen anything like it. In fact, he thinks the murderer was a ghost and swiped a fingerprint from one of the corpses on his glasses so he can continue his own investigation. A few twists lead them to Lauren, who is not interested in talking to them. Her boss, Howard Graves (Graves. Get it? Grave. Dead. Ghost. The writers really resented drafting this one.) recently committed suicide. She is upset enough over it to quit her job, but odd things have been happening around her lately.

Those odd things are Graves’ ghost protecting Lauren. It killed those two assailants, helps convince Lauren he was actually murdered, and finally helps expose evidence that his partner had sold technology to foreign terrorists and had him murdered when he discovered the crime. The technology sale is what the agents who called Mulder in were investigating.

The story is a little thin. There is a wild goose chase for the second act in which Scully convinces Mulder Graves faked his death, but a DNA screening on donated organs proves he is deader than a doornail. The entire act makes logical sense, but is not very interesting outside of Scully taking on the role of forcing Mulder to be a real FBI agent for a while instead of pursuing his own obsessive interests.

I had a bitter laugh at how the terrorist plot was formulated in the ‘hysteria’ of the original World Trade Center bombing in 1993. It seems almost quaint now when considering the subsequent terrorist threat we have been facing since 2001. Simpler times, simpler times. A simple episode, too. Not bad, but nothing special. Mulder and Scully get dragged into the real world of the FBI for a few days.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Catherine Zeta Jones

Friday, November 19, 2010

Doctor Who Christmas Special Trailer

The lovely blonde is Katherine Jenkins, opera singer and rumored cocaine aficianado.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 16--When was the Last Time You Tried Something New?

Three weeks ago at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center. i will spare you the details. Even though it worked, i do not recommend it.

X-Files--"The Jersey Devil"

We have been fortunate so far the X-Files started out strong. It takes ‘The Jersey Devil’ to remind me the truth is out there. That truth is the first season was awfully uneven. The highs were great, but the lows were abysmal. This episode was definitely a low point.

A family vacationing in Atlantic City, New Jersey has to stop to fix a flat tire. While changing the tire, the father is dragged off by an apparent wild animal. Local police track the creature down and kill it. They subsequently hide evidence about the kill. The matter attracts Mulder’s attention. He believes the Jersey Devil is responsible.

It is not, of course. There is actually a family of feral humans from the woods preying on homeless people, hikers, and the like. The police were hiding the truth, either because of protecting the tourism industry or because they have been picking off members of a feral family living in the woods. Take your pick.

“The Jersey Devil” is a very dull episode. The only twist is the Jersey Devil, which is made out to be a missing link in evolution, turns out to be feral humans. The truth is less exciting than the myth. The investigation has no surprises other than that one. Rather uneventful.

The episode has one minor saving grace. It features scully on her downtime in an effort to humanize her. She goes out on a date with a boring estate planning lawyer, but keeps thinking about Mulder’s case the entire time. In the end, she refuses a second date in order to go along with Mulder on another obsessive quest of his. Rather than show Scully’s life outside work, the subplot solidified her connection with mulder. Sexual tension, folks, and right off the bat.

But “The Jersey Devil” is not recommended viewing outside of those who were hoping the two agents would eventually hook up.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Naomi Watts

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flotsam & Jetsam

This has been a no news week as far as I concerned. Not much has been worthy of individual posts, so here is a flotsam and jetsam dump of various points of interest.

You know it is a slow news week when the three major stories of one day involve three different members of the palin family. Sarah claims she can beat Barack Obama in 2012. I like the prospect, but am not yet sold on the reality. Bristol is doing well on Dancing with the Stars and it is just killing progressives. Willow used a homophobic term on her Facebook page. Have any of her critics ever seen a typical internet flame war between teenager/ Compared to most, Willow sounded like a miffed Veggie Tales character.

Charles Rangel shed some crocodile tears while begging for mercy, claiming he may not live much longer. What a tawdry, blatantly manipulative move. It is further evidence of his low character. My advice--if he really is on his last leg, expel him from the House so he can spend his final days in blissful retirement away from our tax dollars.

If we could just racially profile like the Israelis do, we would not have to debate full body scanners or pat downs. But as long as we value political correctness over national security, we cannot whine much about what happens to our junk before boarding a plane. Sorry to depart from many of my civil libertarian brethren there. If it makes you feel any better, I only feel that way in general principle. I am confident these safety measures violate the Fourth Amendment.

jim DeMint is a gentleman, but I hope he does not make amends with Lisa Murkowski. not that he has any to make. Politics is a tough game, Princess Lisa. Deal with it.

There are journalists in the united Kingdom who sole job is to be a “royal watcher.” I thought there could not possibly be a more uselessly offensive career than a sports agent, but I was wrong. Royal watchers take the cake. How can they sleep at night knowing the oxygen they suck up could go to someone more important/

Speaking of sports agents, Dan Uggla’s landed him a spot as the new 2nd baseman for my beloved Atlanta Braves. The Florida Marlins could not afford to keep the power hitting, gold Glove winning, All Star. Or any other decent player, for that matter. Yet the team has been tweeting the arrival of its new players like they are all All Stars. Kind of pitiful, really. But I am happy to have Uggla as a Brave. The team’s power really petered out there at the end.

I cannot think of anything else interesting.

Big Bang Theory--"The Boyfriend Complexity"

bang guest,Big Bang Theory,Johnny Galecki,Kaley Cuoco,The Boyfriend ComplexityI have noted in the last few episodes Penny has been unpleasantly acerbic with the guys. It is about time she got a little comeuppance.

Penny’s father Wyatt, comes to visit He was ecstatic to learn she was dating Leonard, who is a high step up from her past redneck fellows. Penny does not have the heart to tell him they have broken up, so she convinces Leonard to pretend they have patched things up. He milks her desperation to please her father for all it is worth by placing in all sorts of awkward spots until she cannot stand it any longer and tells her father the truth.

The b-story has Raj, Howard, and Bernadette spending the night observing the university
S telescope. Raj cannot handle Bernadette being there without drinking. Predictably, he gets tipsy and weepy about never finding a girl since he cannot even talk to them. Even more predictably, he misinterprets Bernadette’s encouragement as a request to kiss her and winds up lip locked with Howard instead. Are the jokes about their “quasi-homosexual relationship getting stale yet?

Keith Carradine plays Wyatt. The Big Bang Theory likes to do stunt casting with in jokes, but if there is one with his casting, it is lost on me. If someone wants to offer up a suggestion, feel free. Otherwise, funny episode, but nothing special. Usually when one of the gang’s relatives shows up, is much more memorable.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Allegedly Deep Thought # 15--When It is All Said and Done, Will You Have Said More Than You Have Done?

Probably not. I am not all that talkative, particularly when it comes to plans I have no intentions of carrying out.

X-Files--"Conduit"

Mulder becomes even more obsessed than usual over an alleged UFO abduction case when it sounds eerily similar to the disappearance of his sister, Samantha. A young girl named Ruby Miller is allegedly taken from the woods on a camping trip one night. The only witness is her eight year old brother, Kevin, but he cannot understand what he saw.

Their mother, Darlene, suspects alien involvement as much as Mylder does. Back in 1967, she was part of a Girl Scout troupe which witnessed a UFO. She becomes far less cooperative when Kevin claims to be receiving binary code signals from the television set which turn out to be signals from a military satellite. They are both snatched up by Department of Defense authorities. They are given the all clear after a couple days, prompting Darlene to insist Mulder and Scully leave before they cause more problems.

The case takes a turn when a body of a man is found in the same woods. He was to be part of an assignation with Ruby, but was killed by one of her jealous friends. The girl will not confess to Ruby’s murder and claims Ruby never showed. The news is enough to convince Scully there was no alien involvement, just a redneck lover’s spat that ended in murder. That is until Ruby returns in a coma and suffered the effects of long term weightlessness. She refuses to speak about anything that happened after she awakens.

‘Conduit” is a touching episode which further develops Mulder’s dedication towards finding his missing sister. It feels like a bit of an oddity because Scully acts as though she is just now learning about Samantha from the case file even though Mulder told her all about the incident in the pilot. I guess in terms of production the pilot may not exactly be in continuity, but since I just watched it on Monday, it sticks out in my mind as strange.

In terms of drama, it is highly effective. If we do not have the pilot revelation in mind, we learn as the episode progresses why this case is so important to mulder and how empathizes so much with Kevin. Without the continuity blip, “Conduit’ is one of the more effective emotional episodes. Even with the blip, it is still very good.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kaley Cuoco