Monday, April 30, 2012

Formspring Question #406--Christie Catastrophe Edition

What are the chances Mittens will convince Chris Christie to be his running mate?
Mitt Romney could probably easily convince Christ Christie to be his running mate. There is a small army of Republicans who would jump at the chance if asked. The question is whether Romney wants Christie as his running mate. The answer is probably no.

Christie is a colorful loose cannon. Unlike the press’ complete disinterest in Joe Biden’s more--shall we say--interesting public statements, they will pick over every word Christie says, and he will give them plenty of opportunity. Not that Christie makes the dumb statements like Biden, but that he is a little too honest with his opinion. He would overshadow Romney in press coverage in a heartbeat.

As a practical matter, Christie does not bring much to the table. I cannot imagine he could flip New Jersey from Barack Obama to Romney in November. In fact, id Christie is suddenly willing to openly talk about a desire to join the ticket, he is probably concerned about his reelection chances. It is no a secret he had been thinking about a 2016. His chances of winning the nomination then would be greatly diminished as a governor run out of office. Romney himself did not risk another shot as governor in a usually unfriendly state. Christie is more than likely looking out for himself rather than thinking he can enhance the ticket.

Romney’s eventual running mate is not going to be eciting to much of anyone. He is going to pick a safe, solid party man who will fade into the background while Romney takes center stage. Christie does not fit the bill. He is larger than Romney, no fat joke intended. That also counts out pretty much every superstar choice out there whom conservatives are rooting Only if Romney is really desperate will he make a risky Palinesque choice. He probably will not do so then, either. When it comes down to it, what did Sarah Palin do for John McCain? She did not fire up enough conservatives to drag him across the finish line.

Formspring Question #405--Hindering Hendricks Edition

Why don't you post photos of Christina Hindricks?
I did post one in the review for the Firefly episode "Our Miss Reynolds." She really is not my cup of tea. Besides, The Other McCain sort of has dibs on her. Posting photos of a celebrity closely identified with another blogger would make me feel like a copycat. I would rather stand out, even if it means losing some potential search engine hits.

So I am not going to post a Hendricks photo now, either. If your question was a fishing expedition, you have come up short. unless you have not seen the Firefly photos, that is.

Formspring Question #404--Jonas and the Wail Edition

Most fans consider Jonas Quinn an afterthought when naming their favorite characters. Why do so many not like him?
I think it is a combination of fans liking Daniel and the writers not doing enough to separate Daniel from Jonas. I am only eleven episodes into Jonas’ run, but he has already been relegated to a bit player in two of them. I the episodes in which he does play a prominent role, he is Daniel, either by playing the advocate for a guest character others are shakier about or serving as the nerdy translator. Heck, there is even an episode in which he has to deal with a mentally ill mentor like Daniel did with his instutionalized uncle.

If the writers are going to make Jonas a second rate copy of Daniel, then that is what fans are going to consider him. I do not blame them. While I do not have any particular emotional attachments to Daniel--often, his whiny, holier than thou attitude is annoying--I would rather have the real deal than a half-baked stand in.

Judging by this 2005 interview, Corin Nemec diplomatically states he felt like an interloper during his run on the show. No one from the cast or crew contacted him when they found out he was leaving. I get the impression, speaking as one who is new to Gater lore, that Nemec was phoning it in, so all parties wee relieved he was not going to stick around. That may be the reason some of his appearances have been little more than cameos. Nemec says he has not even seen the finished episodes that are Jonas’ swan song.

Stargate SG-1--"Prometheus"

“Prometheus” is a nifty, action oriented episode in which Sgc finally becomes space faring. With the introduction of the title ship. There is yet again another vibe running throughout that the story is designed to wrap up dangling plot threads from the Showtime era. In this case, col. Frank Simmons and Adrian Conrad/Goa’uld meet their fates. ’Prometheus’ is considered the first part of a two part story, but considering how its tying up of loose ends has little to do with thor arriving to request help in defeating the Relicators, one wonders how dubious the connection between the two episodes is.

Julia Donovan, a journal who will become a recurring character throughout the rest of the series, catches a tip the government has built a spaceship using alien technology. She knows enough for the president to pull strings and get the story cancelled, but in order to find out who Donovan’s leak is, SGC agrees to give her a tour of the facility and ship in exchange for revealing her source. The plan is to destroy all evidence of Donovan’s story once her source has been exposed.

The SGC gets double-crossed before it can double-cross Donovan. Her film crew turns out to be rogue NID agents who hold everyone on board Prometheus--that would be Sam, Jonas, and Donovan--and threaten to blow it up unless col. Frank Simmons and Adrian Conrad/Goa’uld are brought to them. The two are, and thanks to Adrian Conrad/Goa’uld’s special knowledge, they get the ship hyper drive up and running.

Jack and Teal’c sneak onboard using one of the Death Gliders swiped from Anubis before the Prometheus engages its hyper drive. With sam’s help, they overpower the skeleton crew which has already been softened up by Adrian conrad/Goa’uld’s desire to get ri of them and take the ship for himself. In a move that should not surprise anyone, Simmons is blendeed with the Goa’uld after he kills Adrian conrad. From the briefest of moments, it looks like Teal’c has run into an opponent he can defeat, but he gets his rear end handed to him. Jack success spaces Simmons/Goa’uld. It is a much more fitting end than his simply being arrested like last time.

Alas, Sam has no bearings on where they are, so she cannot plot a course back to Earth. Thor shows up, seemingly to save the day, but in reality to request help. The Replicators have overrun the Asgard homeworld. To be continued…

Julia Donovan is played by Kendall Cross. Cross had a minor roll in Snakes on a Plane in 2006. Although that is four years after “Prometheus,’ one cannot help but be amused of Adrian Conrad’s Goa’uld, essentially a snake, hijacking the Prometheus. Snakes on a Spaceship, folks. One of the hijackers reveals they want the ship because an ancient tablet maybourne’s rogue NID team’s stole told of a large cache of weapons hidden somewhere…out there. This may be the first reference to Atlantis. Or it could be a throeaway line. I have no idea at this point.

“Prometheus” is fun and exciting. I enjoyed the sense of high adventure without any Tok’ra or Jaffa politics involved or heady moral issues. Simmons and Adrian Conrad/Goa’uld got a much better send off than what went before. I am especially happy to see simmons go out in a blaze. John de Lancie beautifully with a far less over the top menace than that Star Trek he is more famous for playing. I dig the cliffhanger, too. You have to love the promise of more Asgard and Replicators. “Prometheus” does a fine job as an episode on its own, which is more than you usually get from the beginning of a two episode story.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Jenna-Louise Coleman

I am determined to continue my winning streak of cornering the market on photos of new Doctor Who companions.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blogroll Spotlight #143

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. These are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title. If you would like a specific post listed next week, you may email it to me and I will include it.

Adrienne's Corner-Rumors of War III
American Perspective-Jimmy Kimmel roasts Obama and liberal
American Power-Kelly Brook Tumblr Rule 5
Amusing Bunni's Musings-OMG, The Drama!
Atlas Shrugs-Today We are Fighting for Freedom for All in Dearborn, Michigan
Blog of the Nightfly-We Need an Anti-Congress
Bluegrass Pundit-Video: CNN Host Gasps When Female Student Won't Say She Is Voting For Obama
Bride of Rove-Ok. Let’s go there
Camp of the Saints-D I A N A M O R A L E S . . .
Classic Liberal-You’re a Lie, Rule 5
Colossus of Rhodey--Civilization continues to crumble
Conservative Hideout-Sunday Links: Facebook Friends Pictures Volume 12
Da Tech Guy-Howie Carr at the Nashua Republican Dinner
Daley Gator-Your Sunday Music
Diogenes' Middle Finger-Anybody Seen Joe Biden Lately?
First Street Journal-Ben Bernanke, Paul Krugman and the reality of responsibility
Fishersville Mike-State of the blogosphere
Gormogons-The Bully on the Pulpit
House of Eratosthemes-“Wild Bill’s Tax Plan”
Jake Finnergan--Burkalesque Babes: Beyonce
Laughing Conservative--Obama's great lie about oil
Lazy Farmer-Internet privacy links
Legal Insurrection-Reuters analysis of Obama failures abroad pretty much as expected
Lonely Conservative-Senate Democrats Can’t Pass a Budget Because They’re Too Busy Setting Traps for Republicans
Maggie's Notebook-We Can Take On America…And Win!
Motor City Times-Very Early Sunday Morning Links: The Movie Poster Cliche Edition
Other McCain-Everybody Keeps Getting a Busy Signal at the Blogger Burnout Hotline Nowadays
Paco Enterprises-Sunday Funnies
Pagan Temple--Android Prostitutes of the Future
Pirate's Cove-If All You See…
Proof Positive-Themes Like Old Times
Pundit & Pundette-Steyn at his doggone best
Randy's Roundtable-Midweek Rule 5 Break
Reaganite Republican-Reaganite's Sunday Funnies
Riehl World View-Steven Taylor Hauls Out Soapbox, Craps Pants
Sentry Journal-The Department of Labor: Family traditions turned upside down
Teresamerica-My Book Review of Caine's Pestilence: A Novel by John Bascom
Troglopundit-This Week in Automotivators, April 23-29
We the People-Tactical Tip
Woodsterman--Trailer Trash
WyBlog-Annals of public employee unionista silliness, the we have to use our snow days edition
Zilla of the Resistance-Medical Freedom, Lyme Disease, and Obamacare

Stargate SG-1--"Cure"

I am not certain what to make of “Cure.” The premise--a newly contacted alien race has a mitracle cure all they are willing to share--has to wind up a dud by the conclusion. Since we already know that is going to happen, the journey there has to be the interesting part. The journey in this case revolves around the mythology of the Tok’ra. Maybe I am not geeky enough to care much, but the trip to the predictable end is not much of a thrill.

The SG-1 team visits Pangar, a planet of humans who enjoy perfect health and are willing to trade the miracle cure all for stargate addresses. The Panger have a dark secret, however--the cure is derived from what is believed to be a captured Goa’uld queen whom they have been forcing to make offspring for over fifty years. After a Panger is accidentally blened with a symbiote, SG-1 call on the Tok’ra for help removing it. After further digging, it is discovered the queen is not Goa’uld, but Tok’ra.

The Tok’ra demand she be freed so her symbiotes can repopulate their race, the Panger refuse. If the people who have been taking the cure stop, they will all die. The queen herself is now dying, as well. In recent years, she has been pumping out defective symbiotes to make the cure more ineffective in the hopes the Panger would stop using it. As her dying act, she devises an antidote so those who have to stop taking the cure may live on.

I am really not all that interested. There is nothing to ‘Cure” other than the revelation the queen is Tok’ra, not Goa’uld. Her true identity has implications for the Tok’ra--had she survived, their dwindling numbers could be replaced--but I cannot muster much of an emotional response about it. It does not hwlp the tok’ra involved do not get as fired up about the desperate situation as one would expect. It is not like they can just get another queen. It means their near genocide if they do not, but they seem about as upset as watching an old family pet being pit to sleep.

For about two minutes, there are hints of a budding romance between Jonas and a woman named Zenna. Since she is only marginally involved in the story, the romance subplot means very little. Perhaps even less so considering Jonas is not a character who has reached out and grabbed the audience yet. He has not grabbed me, at least. He is steal talking about that freaking bomb his people built. But at least he has stopped talking about Daniel’s sacrifice.

The Panger are kind of cool with their combination of 19th century style of dress and 21st century technology. It is not exactly steampunk, but it is a neat approximation. the atmosphere reminds me of Firefly.

You have to be absorbed into the Tok’ra’s story in order to like “Cure.” Unfortunately, I am not as intrigued as I need to be in order to appreciate it. There is nothing to the episode secret unraveling the mystery, and if you do not care, it is not for you. Perhaps if the Jonas/Zenna romance had been more well executed. Would have, could have, should have. I have to rate what is on the screen.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Jessica Simpson Celebrates The Eye's 2 Millionth Visitor

The Eye registered its two millionth hit at 5:19 AM this morning. Visitor number two million was from Germany and searched for the review of the Stargate SG-1 episode “Rite of Passage.” There is no prize for being the one to hit the milestone other than a nutty, somewhat undue sense of accomplishment.

I chose a Jessica Simpson photo to commemorate the occasion. She was the first celebrity to get the gawking eye treatment back when this photo of her in a pink bikini took off in Google Image Search. It was a photo from the video video “These Boots Are Made for Walking” from The Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack. I have as yet been unwilling to sacrifice the brain cells to watch the movie--according to Richard Roeper, Simpson delivers her lines as though English is her second language--but I have seen the video for the song. You may mute the sound. You will not be missing anything:There you go. A sincere thanks to everyone who has visited the Eye over the years. It was supposed to be little more than a diary about my bar exam studies and early years practicing law. I definitely had no clue how far off the rails my life was going to go. It has been a wold ride. Let us hope the next two million are not quite so tumultuous.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sith Lord Kitty

Sith Lord Kitty finds your lack of Caturday offerings disturbing.

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around #148

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

The Other McCain links to Kelly Brook.
Randy's Roundtable links to Vanessa Hudgens, Olivia Munn, and Kaley Cuoco.
Teresamerica links to Stargate SG-1--"Frozen."
Sentry Journal links to Senatorial Crystal Ball.
Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA #147, Blogroll Spotlight #142, and Emma Stone.
Motor City Times links to Senatorial Crystel Ball.
Proof Positive links to Kaley Cuoco.
Say Anything links to Kaley Cuoco.
Reaganite Republican links to Anne Hathaway.
The Savage Doctor added The Eye to his blogroll.

A sincere thank you to all who linked this week. 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.

Stargate SG-1--"Allegiance"

“Allegiance” brings together all three of the major forces fighting the Goa’uld in one place for the first time. The Sg-1 team suffers its usual bad luck as SGC have a difficult time keeping the peace between the Jaffa and Tok’ra when neither side fully buys into the enemy of my enemy is my friend school of thought. The situation grows far worse when a Jaffa and rok’ra are murdered and each side suspects the other.

The main Tok’ra base of operations comes under attack by Anubis’ forces. They have to evacuate to the off world base set up by SGC. The Jaffa have set up camp there as well, and are not too thrilled to see Tok’ra coming. The feeling is mutual. The Tok’ra have nearly been wiped out by armies of Jaffa loyal to Anubis. Who can blame them for being jumpy? Jack is in charge of keeping the peace. It is a difficult task for him because the memory of his recent betrayal by the Tok’ra he blended with to cure the ancient plague still burns.--and he did not much like the Tok’ra in the first place.

Tempers flare over some minor issues regarding cultural differences. Troubles escalate far worse when a Jaffa is killed and then a short time later a Jaffa is murdered as well. Each side is certain the other side is the culprit. But the two men were killed with the same stabbing method. It is one teal’c recognizes s being of the Ashrak master assassins. The forces split up into groups of three, each group consisting of an SG ember, a Tok’ra, and a Jaffa, in order to search the forests. While there, Bra’tac is attacked and dragged off by an invisible man. The tok’ra with him, Malek, does not pursue, which only adds to the uneasiness of the alliance.

Short story told even shorter--Jack uses a machine gun to plow every inch of space between him and the stargate in order to keep the invisible Ashrak from escaping. He has seriously gotten over his MacGyver aversion to guns in a very big way. Bra’tac shows up to strike the killing blow. He suggests that the Ashrak has shed blood of them all teamed up to stop him, then they are all comrades-in-arms. His speech was far better than a Picard lecture.

Mercy, mercy the references to past episodes. I have already mentioned Jack’s blending and betrayal. There is also appearances by every major Jaffa and Tok’ra character who were anywhere near Vancouver at the time of filming. Jack and Sam share an awkward moment when the Tok’ra lie detector is used and it brings back memories of Jack’s confession of feelings for her. Teal’c namedrops Apophis. Jacob talks about his cancer. So on and so on. All the new Sci Fi viewers should now be caught up to date with the Showtime years.

That is all well and geeky, but there are several weird spots. One, the lie detector says a Jaffa who was in an earlier altercation with the murdered Tok’ra is lying, but the killer turns out to be the Ashrak, not him. The problem is written off with Sam commenting the lie detector is not perfect. The result just means he is lying about something. Okay…what? Two, how did bra’tac survive? The Ashrak is a master assassin who is noted for using a knifing technique that kills both host and symbiote instantly. He did not use it on Bra’tac? It necessary for the sake of the story he did not, but it still stretches credulity. Three, Jonas is only given a cameo while he is stuck at SGC. Sure, he does not have much in the way of military skill, but leaving him out of the adventure just reinforces the idea he is not a true replacement for Daniel. I assume there is an upcoming episode in which Jonas is featured prominently, so his absence here is to give Corin Nemec a brather. Or maybe Jonas really is an afterthought at this point.

These are not huge issues, however. “Allegiance” is a very entertaining episode that finally draws together the major parties and makes the conflict with the Goa’uld look like a true war. I also liked that Frasier took a more active role in the episode. She is a field medic who helps identify the murder technique. I like when she is more proactive. "Allegiance” is a cool episode that actually made me interesting in the Jaffa rebellion. Quite an accomplishment, that.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Hayden Panettiere

Friday, April 27, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"The Other Guys"

Stargate SG-1 has had mixed results with comedic episodes in the past. The show does not take itself too seriously to begin with--who could forget Osiris sadistically taunting Thor with impending torture while his tiny tootsies are sticking out from shackles--so when the theme is to be deliberately funny, the humor often goes way, way over the top. I had concerns with the premise of “The Other Guys” such would be the case. Not so. As a sci fi geek who can poke fun at the trappings of the genre, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode.

The SG-1 team is literally babysitting a group of civilian scientists on a remote planet. The three scientists are complete dweebs. Jay Felger is fannish about SG-1’s adventures in general and jack’s exploits in particular. Simon Coombs is a nerd obsessed with Star Trek, which is funny since he is played by ENT‘s John Billingsley. Meyers is the straight laced guy who follows orders and always carries a roll of duct tape around like MacGyver. When it appears a Goa’uld ship has ambushed and captured the SG-1 team, Felger disobeys orders to return to Earth and mounts a rescue, dragging the brilliant, but bumbling Coombs reluctantly with him.

What could have been a silly Inspector Gadget-type adventure wherein the two incompetent heroes manage to save the day against a superior force by completely screwing everything up is turned on its ear by a couple of surprising twists. First, the capture was a ruse in order to meet up with the Tok’ra operative posing as the Goa’ulds Khonsu. Khonsu has information about where Anubis is getting his technology. Felger and coombs have to be hidden for their own safety so as not to compromise the mission. In hiding, they witness Khonsu’s First Prime, Her’ak, discover the rebel Jaffa working for the Tok’ra Khonsu and plot to take over his army. It is then that Felger and Coombs truly become heroes by saving the SG-1 team, complete with plenty of references from Star Trek and other science fiction franchises.

“The Other Guys” is loaded down with references: Coombs thinks all scientists should worship at the Altar of Roddenberr. He expresses his fear of going on the rescue mission by saying he feels like he is wearing a red shirt. When Khonsu is killed by Her’ak, he really is wearing a red shirt. There is a bat’leth hanging on the wall behind Khonsu when he is killed. Fleger and Coombs crawl through ventilation shafts much like Jeffries tubes. Heck, there is even a reference to bathrooms being onboard Goa’uld ships, but not on Federation vessels.

There are numerous self-references, too. Felger echoes Jack’s comments a few episodes back about a sociopolitical nerd ruining the team’s coolness by saying the scientists are having the same effect. Sam teases Jonas about not smiling over his first capture by the Goa’uld since he has been visibly happy about his other firsts. Jack mocks the Goa’uld for not making grandiose enough speeches about their evil plan. The SG-1 team complains about yet again being imprisoned for their own safety. So on and so on. You get the idea.

The humor is all good fun without getting to silly. The only ridiculous part, wherein Felger and Coombs are awarded metals and Felger is passionately kissed by Sam, turn out to be a daydream from Felger. It is a nice way to cap off the episode. I would prefer to smooch Frasier, but one should never turn down a kiss from a pretty woman. Sam qualifies. But back to the point, “The Other Guys” is much better than I was expecting. Not only in regards to the humor, but there is is also a lot of action and ties to the over all sixth season story arc.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

Mila Kunis

Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Shadow Play"

Out of all the films Stargate SG-1 could do an homage of, A Beautiful Mind never crossed my mind. The story mirrors John Nash’s Cold War paranoia experience that on a lesser show, I would count the similarities as a cheap rip off. Fortunately, “Shadow Play” does two things right. One, it takes the lifted elements of A Beautiful Mind and makes theme distinctly Stargate SG-1 and two, it cats Dean Stockwell in the Nasj role.

Stargate Command is contacted by the Kelowna’s, Jonas’ people who were building a naquadria bomb in anticipation of a Cold war suddenly heating up. The Kelowdan’s neighboring countries on on the verge of signing a non-aggression pact. Such an agreement would leave Kelowdan vulnerable to attack from superior forces. They want SGC to give them defensive weaponry in exchange for all the naquaria they can use.

This part of the plot revisit’s a running theme of weighing the moral responsibility of offering technology to other races. Earth has often been on the receiving end of no--from the Nox, Tollan, and Asgard--because humanity’s perceived moral immaturity. In this case, the tables are turned and surprising turned by Jack. Jack has grown since his experience genocidal Eurondans from ”The Other Side” when he was ready to give them weapons no questions asked in exchange for what he wanted until realizing the atrocities the Eurondans had committed. Jack has grown as a character to adopt more of Daniel’s way of thinking.

Speaking of Jack, since he will not come up specifically again in this review, he is noticeably subdued. He still has his own forceful moral code, mind you, but he is quieter, less fidgety, and more willing to let others--even Jonas--take point when one of his colleagues has a clear advantage over him. Jack has rarely let others dominate in any given situation. It appears his traumatic experience in the previous episode has affecting his way of thinking.

Everyone is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Kelownans either get weapons from SGC or they use the aquaria bomb. The SG-1 team needs aquaria for its own defensive purposes, but cannot be a party to handing off weapons likely to be used offensively. The heart of the episode’s conflict belongs to Jonas and his relationship with his former professor, colleague, and mentor, Dr. Keiran. Keiran is stock well’s character. Keiran claims to be part of a resistance movement that nearly has the capacity to overthrow the current government in order to install one un-inclined to wage war. He needs time and some assistance from SGC. Jonas wants to believe in him, but as already noted, Kieran is suffering from mental illness due to long exposure to aquaria radiation. The resistance is only a figment of his deranged imagination.

As with A Beautiful Mind, we do not realize we are witnessing delusions of Kieran’s mind until late in the story. In retrospect, only one of his three encounters alone with jonas--the one in which he reveals the existence of the resistance--actually was with Jonas. As difficult as it is to create an emotional bond with a one off character, Kieran got to me. Again, it is probably because of my previous attachments to Stockwel because of Quantum Leap and Battlestar Galactica, but he hit all the right marks. Kieran is a pacifist who enjoyed the scientific research, but was horrified by the potential consequences of the bomb he helped build. He created this whole fantasy of a coup that would lead to a lasting peace for his world.

The truly sad part is that war does come Kelowna and without SGC help, they probably use the aquaria bomb. As Jonas hinted, the bomb’s use could likely attract Goa’uld attention. But inn spite of all that, Jonas indulges his mentor, who is now going to be institutionalized for the rest of his life, and takes him he has heroically saved his world by preventing the naquadria bomb’s use.

It is no secret I am not a huge Jonas fan. The character has been trying to be another Daniel rather than come into his own. Aside from a running gag about his fondness for junk food, there has not been much offered up in the way of distinguishing his character. “Shadow Play” comes close. We finally see some real emotion in Jonas. He is conflicted over his status as a traitor even though he believes he did the moral ting. He also clearly has a strong bond with his old professor/mentor, enough of one he is willing to tell the man he is a hero rather than explain the tragedy that has most likely befallen his people by that point. It is very oving, and certainly more so because Stockwell is playing Kieran.

While I doubt “Shadow Play” will go down as one of my favorite episodes, it is an above average effort that is far better than it ought to be considering much more of it is a carbon copy of A Beautiful Mind. . Pretty much every Gater considers the Jonas stuff an afterthought, no?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kaley Cuoco in Bikinis and Body Paint

Those of you clamoring for the return of Kaley Cuoco Day are in luck this fine Thursday. Cuoco has been busy tweeting vacation photos of her in bikinis and body paint. They are Twitter photos, so not of the best quality, but low quality Kaley Cuoco is apparently better than no Kaley Cuoco.

I do not know who her body painting buddy is.

UPDATE: Mystery solved. Kalet Cuoco's body paint buddy is her sister, Brianna.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Formspring Question #402--Searching for Green Cheese Edition

Do you think the Chinese will actually send someone to the moon?
Communism poisons everything.

Newt Gingrich to End 2012 Presidential Bid

The reality of political campaigns--the candidate is always the last one to know.

Stargate SG-1--"Abyss"

I was given a heads up that “Abyss” was a highly anticipated episode during the original run because of the return of Michael Shanks, but his reappearance as the ascended Daniel turned out to be secondary to the excellent character study of Jack. Indeed, this is true. The only weak sot of the episode--and weak is a mild term here--is Daniel’s involvement.

“Abyss” carries on an increasingly frequent theme in science fiction television in which a main character is tortured throughout the story. Whatever the torturer wants to know is irrelevant. The experience for the audience is how the raw nature of the torture victim is revealed. Think back to Jean-Luc Picard, John Sheridan, James ’Sawyer” Ford, Gaius Baltar, and Mal Reynolds with how their painful ordeals revealed much about their true natures, and you have the idea.

What is compelling is that jack is tortured by he is a good guy at his core. The vital information Kanan, the Tok’ra symbiote he blended with in order to cure the Ancient contagion, is the schematics of a secret base run by Ba’al. Kanan romanced one of Ba’al’s slaves, Shallan, in order to gather all the intelligence, then left her behind. When Karan blends with Jack, however, he learns jack’s sense of duty--never leave anyone behind. It is not entirely clear whether jack is a willing participant or being controlled by Karan--I think the latter, FWIW--but he goes off on a solo mission to rescue shallan and gets captured himself. Karan abandons Jack to face imprisonment alone.

Ba’al tortures Jack to death in the most gruesome ways imaginable Repeatedly, bringing him back to life again after wards with a sarcophagus. In between torture sessions, jack is held in a cell in which he periodically sees a young woman. Daniel also appears to him, first to offer comfort, then a chance to ascend. Much of their old banter makes a return. Jack wants daniel to give him a practical way to escape and responds with frustration when Daniel says he cannot. It is a battle of realist versus idealist on a higher plane of existence. The interesting point is Daniel’s progression towards action as Jsck weakens under the prospect of more torture and death. Daniel goes from moral support to offering to help Jack ascend to finally secretly nudging Teal’c at SGC to sic Yu on ba’al’s secret fortress to offer Jack a chance to escape amid the chaos. The plan works. Jack escapes, but insists on taking Shallan with him. He is a good guy until the end

But I did say Daniel is the weak point of the episode. He is. It is not clear until the very end that Daniel actually is there and not a creation of Jack’s mind to help him cope. Given the story elements, it makes more sense for Daniel to be an hallucination. He only appears to Jack in the cell, never during the torture sessions when jack is at his most desperate. Jack struggles to maintain his resistance while languishing in his cell in anticipation of more torture. It is like he is having an inner dialogue with himself. He wants to give up and die so as not to reveal anything to Ba’al. that is his practical side talking. But daniel assures him he is a good man who does not deserve to be destroyed. That is Jack’s idealism, which could be personified in Daniel. Alas, Daniel is literally there, and that fact robs the story of some existential insight into Jack’s soul. A soul which he denies possessing. an inner realization his soul exists would have been more poignant than daniel’s nudging him towards the epiphany.

I call that a minor gripe in comparison to how well the rest of the episode plays out. There is a surrealistic atmosphere that is mesmerizing. Jack is held in a gravity defying cell in which he appears to be lying on the ceiling. He can view other rooms, all of which are topsy turvy in their own way. He is tortured on an iron rack that resembles the rose gates popular in medieval Europe. Ba’al’s entire fortress, with its stained glass windows, has a medieval feel. Jack is tortured with knives and acid which are flung towards him back the magnetic properties of the rack. Watching them fly effortlessly out of Ba’al’s hand and embedding in jack’s bedding is more sadistic than if Ba’al was forcibly stabbing him.

“Abyss” certainly kicks the sixth season up about four notches. Like other stories involving the torture of the hero in other shows, the episode is difficult to watch. But it is definitely one you cannot skip. I am curious about the lasting implications. Will the refusal of the tok’ra to help save jack damage the alliance? Has Ba’al established himself as a far more intriguing villain with the SG-1 team holding a very personal grudge? Jack should be scarred for life over his experience. The answers will be compelling to discover.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens seems like she would be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Formspring Question #401--Paulista Plotting Edition

Did Ron Paul just use his crazy, vote-stealing strategy to win Iowa and Minnesota? Um…I don’t even know what to say to this. How can that happen?
It would appear the Paulistas have pulled off a coup in both Iowa and Minnesota. Iowa is particularly funny since this is the second time the state has changed hands. Why did this happen? It is most likely the incompetence of the Republican party to run a well-organized, efficient nomination process.

I would not fret over it. At beast, Ron Paul’s continued campaign will be a symbolic nipping at Mitt Romney’s heels. Romney is the Republican nominee. He is the one the power that be wanted all along. They would not let Ron Paul get anywhere near the nomination even if there was a remote chance he could swipe it away from Romney. Paul himself publicly admits he will never be president. He is all about some idealistic cause.

Do what I do--just sit back and be amused at the Paulista antics. The nomination gatekeepers are going to hold them at bay, so their crusade is harmless. At least they are devoting their energy into affecting an election which has already been all but decided into of focusing on something they could really screw up.

Stargate SG-1--"Nightwalkers"

Let me drag the dead horse I have named Mulder out the barn and beat him a little more. After noting the similarities to The X-Files in the previous episode, here we have a full blown script from the series with Stargate SG-1 characters cut and pasted in. “Nightwalkers” features a small town in the Pacific Northwest where the townspeople have been secretly taken over by alien parasites from a government project gone wrong. In short, this ain’t Stargate SG-1, and it would only count as a mediocre effort for The X-Files.

Speaking of "Nightwalkers" not being Stargate SG-1, it is the first episode to not feature any characters from the original film. Richard Dean Anderson sits this one out due to his more prominent role in the next episode. I would count Michael Shanks as having departed, but he features as a guest star in the next episode, too. Perhaps that the focus on Jack and Daniel is to make up for their absence.

The introductory paragraph pretty much laid the story all out. A research scientist named Fleming calls Sam in the middle of the night to warn her about Adrian Conrad’s symbiote, but is apparently murdered before he can elaborate. Ly keen powers of observation. The SG-1 team travels to a small town in Oregon to investigate. More to the point, the SG-1 team rides into a small, quirky town radiating uber coolness with their leather jackets and sunglasses four years before Torchwood hit the airwaves. Just sayin’.

The mystery unravels at an incredibly slow place and even then only because of an implausible coincidence and Jonas’ unusually keen powers of observation. The townspeople appear to be fumbling through their days as though they have not gotten enough sleep. At night, they are wandering around as though they are completely different people. The truth is, they have cloned symbiotes within them, but the clones are so weak, they can only take over when the host is asleep. They have been spending their nights secretly building a spaceship so they can leave earth. Which is all well and good, but only Jonas notices any of the weird behavior and SG-1 just happens to be investigating Flemming’s home when the vaccine that kills the cloned symbiotes is delivered.

I cannot stress the absurdity of that last point enough. Flemming had a vaccine that kills the cloned symbiotes. Instead of using it on himself--he was taking drugs to stay awake--he shipped it to his home address to arrive days later. Sam happened to be the one to sign for the package. The vaccine conveniently is there for her to use in avoiding being infected with a cloned symbiote herself so she could turn the tables on the bad guys in the end. Why did flemming not use the vaccine on himself and how lucky is it Sam just happens to be at his home when the vaccine is delivered?

If you want to buy those pints as acceptable contrivances for the sake of the plot, all right. But then you have to take into account the cloned symbiotes’ plan. All they planned to do was build a space ship and leave. That would involve kidnapping the townspeople, but still not all that sinister a plan. But when they discover the Nid is watching them, they decide to blend cloned symbiotes with agents in order to take over the NID. When Sam is apparently blened, they are inspired to take over SGC, too. These guys do not exactly think big until an opportunity is staring them right in their faces. The cloned symbiotes could be far more menacing than the plot allows.

“Nightwalkers” is not horrible, but disappointing. It goes without saying the episode does not feel like Stargate SG-1. I imagine there will be some lasting consequences. Our heroes not have a potential vaccine and a partially built spaceship, but otherwise, “Nightwalkers” is forgettable filler. It is cool to see sam take charge for once, so there is a point in the episode’s favor, but as far as the Earthbound, non-SGC centered stories go, this one ranks at the bottom.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Olivia Munn

Monday, April 23, 2012

Formspring Question #400--Jack/Sam Shipper Edition

Thoughts on the Sam/Jack dynamic? Personally it never resonated—it relies too heavily on the “opposites attract” idea that tv loves but that neither the actors nor writing gives enough passion/screen time to make interesting. I am all for a forbidden love/opposites attract story but it comes across as cheap unless you invest in it and make the audience care. If they had to have a romance, I think Sam/Dan would have been better—would have give Daniel something to do after Sha're?
For whatever it is worth, you asked the 400th Formspring question. Technically, you also asked the 401st as well, since it took shot to get everything in, so there you go. Just keeping track of such things.

I have only seen the first five seasons and a nickel, so I can only talk about the Jack/sam dynamic so far. All I can really say is--what dynamic? Those fans who see a romantic relationship brewing between Jack and Sam have even less to go on than those Trekkies who assured me Janeway and Chakotay were romantically inclined, too. There really is not that much there.

Many fans cite Jack’s refusal to leave Apophis’ ship when he could have saved himself, but refused to do so because Sam was trapped behind a force field, as a sign he was in love with her. I think that is manufactured. Jack has a strong emotional response to leaving anyone behind. He will not do it. Maybe he does care for sam more than he should, but he is too trapped within his own rigid moral code to give in. Frankly, sam appears to think his feelings for her is like a cute schoolboy crush. Has she ever taken it seriously? Not as of yet at any rate.

But let us assume for the sake of argument the writers are toying with a romantic relationship between the two. There are two problems. One, there is no sexual tension and two, their opposing personalities do not complement one another. (Compliment? Either word arguably makes sense here.) Jack and Sam have not had a famous antagonistic/friendly relationship in which their personalities clash, but they still have a strong bond of attraction. Take Mulder and Scully, for instance. There was sexual tension between them from nearly the beginning which solidified their relationship to the point the true believer v. Eternal Skeptic clash could always be overcome. Jack and Sam have never been that way. Heck, you could make a better case for Jack and Daniel in that regard. Minus sexual tension, but it would not surprise me if there are not some gay fans that have the notion.

The bottom line is if the writers mean for a potential relationship between Jack and sam to be obvious, they are doing a poor job with it. I agree that it would make more sense for Sam and Daniel to hook up. She has a much more emotional response when bad things happen to him than anyone else does. She obviously cares for him a great deal. Has sam ever broken down over Jack? I do not believe so. At least not a forcefully as she has for Daniel.

Stargate SG-1--"Frozen"

“Frozen” is an apt description for this episode. The story is paced so glacially slow with reams of exposition setting up the season long story arc and little else in the way of emotion. It is, however, a 45 minute commercial for North Face jackets and Polaris snowmobiles, so I guess that is something. There is also an underlying X-Files vibe with heavy similarities to ”Ice” and ”Gethsemane.” Considering one of the guest roles is played by Lone Gunman Bruce Harwood, the homage may not be a coincidence.

A research team has been searching in and around the area of Antarctica where the second stargate was discovered. When they discover a woman frozen in the ice, the SG-1 team is summoned. Originally, the woman is considered an anthropological coup, but soon realize she is alive. They thaw her out, and she quickly recovers. The women, whom we soon learn is named Ayiana, is fifty million years old. She could be either an advanced stage of human evolution or an Ancient.

A virus was frozen along with ayiana which causes those at the research facility to fall ill. Ayiana somehow managed to heal herself in the distant past, but does not remember how until she conveniently performs a laying on of hands to fully heal one of the scientists who had been lost outside after collapsing from the illness. Ayiana heals three of the sick, but it is discovered doing so devastates her white blood cell count. Not only can she no longer heal anyone else, she is dying from the past exertion. Which is unfortunate, as Jack has fallen deathly ill. The SGC contact the Tok’ra. They plan to heal jack by temporarily blending with a symbiote who has vital intelligence but needs a host in order to communicate. Jack reluctantly agrees even though he has strong feelings about anyone becoming a host.

So how is “Frozen” similar to The X-Files episodes I mentioned above? “Ice” features Mulder and Scully visiting a remote research facility in northern Alaska at which a frozen alien parasite is discovered which causes virtually everyone to fall ill. “Gethsemane’ is about an alien discovered in the Canadian snowy wilderness that may hold the key to human origin, but turns out to be a manufactured hoax. The similarities are enough to remind me of those episodes. Bruce Harwood playing a minor character in "Frozen” cements the nod to one of my all time favorite television series.

But “Frozen” on its own merit is very bland. There is surprisingly little drama. You have a claustrophobic and isolated setting with nine people stuck in a small biodome in Antarctica with the added tension of them falling deathly ill with no medical help in reach, but it is all wasted. The characters show hardly any emotion at all in their plight. Heck, one would think cabin fever would get to them even if a lingering death from an incurable virus is not enough to cause emotions to boil over.

The only character who displays any real emotion is Jonas. He spends the episode bonding with Ayiana. He is the only one who mourns her loss when she finally succumbs to the strain of using her healing abilities. There is a definite feel here that Jonas is directly taking over Daniel’s job of sympathizing with the guest star of the week, particularly when no one else appears to care, and serving as his or her adamant advocate. That is not a bad thing, but the impression I get is there is not going to be much effort made in creating a unique persona for Jonas. Not only does he act like Daniel, he quotes Daniel’s research chapter and verse. One might consider he is doing this on purpose to better fit in--the SG-1 team still misses Daniel--but from a production perspective, Corin Nemec is playing a copy of Michael Shanks, either because the production, fans, or both are wishing he never left.

I am not really sure how to rate “Frozen.” There are some incredibly good technical tricks which create a spooky atmosphere. When Ayiana is discovered, half her face is submerged in a block of ice. There are long sequences at the Antarctic research facility with no musical accompaniment, just the sound of wind of harsh blowing outside in order to emphasize isolation. Jack being carried in an isolation bed through the stargate by his friends is eerrily similar to pallbearers carrying a casket. Such touches are a lot of window dressing that cannot save a weak story. The entire purpose of the episode is to set up future storylines and get jack to the poin the becomes a Tok’ra. It works to that end, but not with a whole lot of thrills. Even the Jack/Sam shippers do not care much about the moment when Sam begs Jack to accept the Tok’ra offer. When even the the most devoted shippers are not buying it, you are in trouble.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Sarah Shahi

I must assume, considering she has become a steady search result at The Eye as of late, Sarah Shahi's show Fairly Legal is a big hit for the USA Network. Or it could be that she is simply really, really hot.

Whichever the case, Sahi is in heated competition with Kaley Cuoco as the biggest celebrity attraction at The Eye.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blogroll Spotlight #142

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. These are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title. If you would like a specific post listed next week, you may email it to me and I will include it.

Adrienne's Corner-If I Wanted America to Fail
American Perspective-Obama's Fundraising 70& Short
American Power-Smokin' Claudia Schiffer Gets Hot in Guess 30th Anniversary Photo Shoot
Amusing Bunni's Musings-International Pet Round Up
Atlas Shrugs-Police Taser a Kuwaiti Diplomat Caught Urinating on Tony Blair's Doorstep
Blog of the Nightfly-A Little Gestalt Over Lunch
Bluegrass Pundit-Guess Who the Most Overexposed First Lady in History Os?
Bride of Rove-Okay, let's Go There
Camp of the Saints-Rule 5 Saturday: Rosamund Pike
Classic Liberal-Amber Lancaster and State Oppression
Colossus of Rhodey--If I Was the Victim, I'd sue MSNBC
Conservative Hideout-Kossack Confirms Lefty/Rad Feminazi Narrative: Claims Fetus is a Parasite
Da Tech Guy-They don't want Citizens, they Want Serfs
Daley Gator-Thanks Barack… Iranian Regime Says It’s Building A Copy Of Captured U.S. Drone
Diogenes' Middle Finger-Happy Earth Day
Essential Mr. Bill-Quote of the Day
First Street Journal-Tough on the Issues? What Issues?
Fishersville Mike-Know Your Kochs
Gormogons-Morning Dance Break
House of Eratosthemes-Why Do Men Become Communists?
Jake Finnergan--Burkalesque Babes: Ke$ha
Laughing Conservative--Clooney Tunes
Lazy Farmer-Figured Out Why My Helper Didn't Show Up Yestereday!
Legal Insurrection-One. Great. Sentence.
Lonely Conservative-Nice Tone: David Axelrod Says Republicans in the ‘Thralls of a Reign of Terror’ from Tea Party
Maggie's Notebook-How The Occupy Movement Chose To Remember The Holocaust And Its Victims
Motor City Times-Happy Earth Day to All Communists, Progressives, Eco-Warriors, Leftists and Democrats Everywhere
Other McCain-Troll-ism
Paco Enterprises-Sunday Funny
Pirate's Cove-If All You See...
Proof Positive-Quote du Jour
Pundit & Pundette-Your saturday Steyn
Randy's Roundtable-Thursday Nite Tart: Lily Aldridge
Reaganite Republican-Reaganite's Sunday Funnies
Riehl World View-Levin Shoves Silver Spoon Up Obama's Butt
Sentry Journal-Race Convoluting Justice
Teresamerica-Paul Ryan, His Faith, Subsidiarity, and the Federal Budget
Troglopundit-This Week in Automotivators, April 16-22
Woodsterman--Thought for the Day
WyBlog-Death Race 2012: NJ State Police Escort 100 MPH Caravan of Luxury Sports Cars to Atlantic City
Zilla of the Resistance-What Fresh Hell is This?

Stargate SG-1--"Descent"

“Descent” is the first full adventure with Jonas as a member of the SG-1 team. Being the redheaded stepchild of the group, that means he is cast aside until riding in to save the day. One assumes he finally proves himself to Jack. The episode is straightforward adventure with odd elements thrown in that appear to be an assurance to the audience this is the same show on Sci f that it was on Showtime. Elaboration is forthcoming.

A Goa’uld mothership appears over earth. After everyone has changed their underwear and reaffirmed their religious affiliations, the SG-1 team arrives with Jacob/Selmak and Maj. Davis to check it out. I can figure they needed Jacob to bring a tok’ra ship to get them there, although I assume they still have the cargo ship from the previous season, but I cannot see davis there for any other reason than playing on the running joke he only shows up when a disaster occurs. (Fans have nicknamed him Major Disaster.) It is a stretch to have a Tok’ra and the Pentagon liaison on this mission, but I assume they are thrown in there to bridge the network jump.

Speaking of bridging the network jump, the mothership is the same one Anubis was holding thor prisoner. Since it is now abandoned, but still in working order save for a stalled self-destruct countdown, it is assumed Thor’s mind was able to take over the ship after Anubis downloaded his mind into the computer system. The little guy must have driven them off with a virus. Oddly enough, there is an occasional garbled announcement runing through the speakers of the ship which has enough hints of Thor’s voice the audience can identify it long before the characters do. Never actually hearing the voice clearly is a clever way to get around not having Michael Shanks around to provide it.

Matters are cmplicated when it is discovered a handful of Jaffa are still onboard. They are eventually defeated by teal’c and Jonas when they sneak over to Jacob/Selmak’s ship, but they have sabotaged the mothership for a crash landing. The ship goes down just south of Alaska. Everyone survives, tsunami damage to Russia and China is glossed over, and only Jacob/Selmak suffers the bends. Okay…

Truth be told, there is not a whole lot of drama involved in the SG-1 team’s plight. The splashdown is spoken of, but not seen on screen. A submarine rescue is imminent. There only trouble run into is when jack and Sam are trapped in a flooding room and are rescued when the door automatically opens after a properly dramatic time submerged. It is at this point they realize the ship us being controlled by Thor’s mind, not a virus created by him. They opt to take the computer memory with them so Thor’s mind can be placed in a cloned body, but get trapped again in their escape. Jonas comes to the last minute rescue, thereby proving himself a vital member of the team. Even Jsck thinks so. Woo hoo!

It is still early in the game, but I am having a hard time warming up to Jonas. Jack, sam, and Teal’c tend to keep him at a distance because they do not want to think of him as a replacement for Daniel. I can appreciate the sentiment for a while, but I assume career military personnel handle these things more maturely than these guys are. It is said repeatedly Daniel has been gone for months now. Look at things from Jonas’ perspective. He saved the entire planet in the previous episode. Throughout this one, he is complaining to Teal’c about his guilt over Daniel making the sacrifice he should have made. Nor whining exactly, but pointing out the absurdity of how he is being treated. When Jonas finally gets his chance, he risks his life to save the others. It is lik he is not suicidal, necessarily, but needs some battle scars he has to suffer a loss to prove he is worthy. If he is not accepted as an integral part of the team now, I am going to be extremely disappointed. Our heroes--Lonas included--are being way too emotionally immature for my taste.

Ugh..I almost hate mentioning this, but director Peter DeLuise makes a cameo as Lt. Dagwood. Considering the name and the submariner theme of the episode, he is offering a nod to SeQuest DSV. Come on, man. 21 Jump Street was a far better show. How about a nod to that every now and them?

“Descent” is an entertaining episode even though it is clearly designed to prove the show is going on as usual now that it is aired on Sci Fi instead of Showtime. I half expected to see Maybourne and Kinsey show up just to prove they are still around. If it sounds like I am being harsh, I am not trying to be. It is quite amusing to see how much the powers that be packed in. If Jonas is now a full fledged, well accepted character, then the episode is successful.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Keira Knightley

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around #147

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

Proof Positive links to Kaley Cuoco.
Say Anything links to Kaley Cuoco.
Pirate's Cove links to FMJRA #146, Blogroll Spotlight #141, and Jennifer Lawrence.
Jake Finnegan links to Anne Hathaway.
Sentry Journal links to Rick Rolling Away.
Teresamerica links to Kelly Brook.
Celebribuzz links to Olivia Wilde.
Official Alison Brie links to Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs.
Motor City Times links to Rick Rolling Away.
Randy's Roundtable links The Eye in his FMJRA. randy also links to Britney Spears and Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs.
Reaganite Republican links to Anne Hathaway.
Conservative Hideout links to The Force is Strong with This One, But...

A sincere thank you to all who linked this week. 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.

Stargate SG-1--"Redemption, Part II"

“Redemption, Part II” is certainly an improvemen5t over its first half. Maybe the powers that be should have spread the material out over the two episodes a wee bit more liberally. There is much more action, the ticking clock is far more intense, and, lo and behold, the heroes of the story are minor and/or recurring characters.

The episode begins right where we left off yesterday. The stargate’s build up of energy thanks to Anubis’ new weapon will cause it to explode in a little over two days if no one can come up with a solution by then. With the X-302 unstable, they cannoy contact the Asgard for help. Meanwhile, Teal’c and Bra’tac have discovered the Jaffa controlled planet upon which the weapon is located. Rya’c, eager to prove he is a warrior, argues until he gets to come along.

Guess what? The planet upon which the rebel Jaffa are based and the planet upon which Anubis’ weapon is located look exactly like the forests outside Vancouver. I am not just beating a dead horse with that joke. There is no effort whatsoever to distinguish between the two environments. Vancouver has quarries, a desert-like environment, and a varied coastline. Heck, blue screen something in! film at night! Make a little bit of effort here. Space is like something out of Dante’s Inferno. After you die, you wind up in the forests outside Vancouver. No matter where you run or how far, you will always be in the forests outside Vancouver. Arrrggghh!

Rodney McKay is still around. He and Sam are even more at each other’s throats than ever until she is injured putting one of his brainstorms into action. It fails, and cuts the time left until the stargate explodes in half. His failure and the resulting injury to Sam humbles him to the poin the becomes a semi-likable character as he acknowledges his failure in such a shy schoolboy way that it is clear to Sam he has a genuine affection for her. This is the first time I have understood why so many Stargate: atlantis fans like him. He has some redeeming qualities.

It is Jonas who comes up with the idea of taking the stargate into space where it can safely explode. Jack will take it up in the stripped down X-302, eject because there is no landing gear, and wait for the kaboom. The initial plan does not work, but using the unstable hyper drive for one second is enough to get the stargate 3 million miles away from Earth so it can safely explode.

Meanwhile, teal’c and Bra’tac are captured by a Jaffa who is one day going to become a Cylon .(Aaron Douglas, who makes his second appearance as a Jaffa. Grace Park and Ron Worthy are the other two future Cylons.) Rya’c rescues the two and destroys Anubis’ weapon by using a stolen Death glider. In a bit of symmetry, it is assumed neither Jack, nor Rya’c escaped their respective craft upon completing their mission, but both manage to eject.

The Russkies offer to lease their stargate, which is the original, in exchange for cash, hyper drive plans, and a Russian officer on SG-1. Jack turns down the final request because he has decided to allow jonas to replace Daniel. It is only fair. It was Jonas’ idea that saved earth. Parker Lewis can’t lose, you know. I assume Jack’s suggestion to add a completely Russian SG team happens instead. With the international flare and Rodney becoming a more fleshed out character, one wonders if plans for the Stargate: Atlantis were percolating as early as 2002.

“Redemption, Part Ii’ is a big improvement over the first part. The ticking bomb aspect in the previous episode did not feel as ominus as it does here. Teal’c’s Jaffa drama was far more interesting, too. These Jaffa are warriors, not oversensitive beta males. Theyneed to handle their issues like cowboys, not soap opera divas. I am still not sure if I like Jonas. Even though he is the catalyst for saving Earth, he is still a blank slate. I appreciate he is motivated to help Earth because of his guilt for Daniel dying to save his planet when he feels as though it should have been him. It is a nice touch. Some nice touches all around. Part II definitely redeems part I.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Emma Stone

Motivation to get in shape? You be the judge.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Formspring Question #399--Senatorial Crystal Ball Edition

What about the senate? Do you think Republicans can take control? It would put them in a powerful position opposite Obama (I have no faith in a Romney victory).
Republicans currently hold 47 Senate seats. Assuming the various safe seats like Diane Feinstein’s and John Kyl’s will not change parties, there are eight toss up elections to watch. Two are republican. Six are democrat.


Scott Brown (MA)
Dean Heller (NV)

I predicted back in my annual New Year’s Eve predictions Brown would lose reelection. I still think that is a possibility. I have a hunch many voters in Massachusetts will vote straight Democrat. Then again, Elizabeth Warren does not appear all that popular. The idea of a partisan shift in Massachusetts towards more moderate candidates like Brown strikes me as absurd, so warren must be an incredibly obnoxious candidate. I am not an insider to Massachusetts politics, so I cannot say.

I confess I did not even know the name of the other senator from Nevada. He must be as exciting as a pet rock. We would have been elected in the 2006 wave of democrats, so he must have something going for him.


Ben Nelson (NE)
Bill Nelson (FL)
Debbie Sabanow (MI)
Claire Catskill (MO)
Jon Tester (MT)
Opwn (VA)

I would think Nebraska is a likely pick up. Montana does not strike me as a friendly place for Democrats. Virginia, maybe. Somewhere in here, republicans have to pick up four eats three seats--there is an independent, Bernie Sanders--in order to win a majority. The party may squeak by with four pick ups. Keep in mind Maine is likely to go from Republican to a left-leaning Independent as Angus King likely will take susan Collins’ open seat.

Who is going to ask the 400th question?

Secret Service Agent in Colombian Scandal Once Posted Creepy Photos of Sarah Palin

Secret Service Agent David Randall Chaney retired yesterday amid allegations he was involved with the hooker scandal in Colombia last week. This is not the first time Chaney has engaged in questionable behavior. In 2009, he posted the above photo and others online with a caption ’I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean?” Chaney had been assigned to Palin’s Secret service detail during the 2008 election.

I have already begun to see a new internet meme captioning the above photo floating about.

Stargate SG-1--"Redemption, Part I"

“Redemption, Part I” is the sixth season premiere and the first original episode to air on the Sci Fi Channel after five seasons on Showtime. I am curious to see if and how the series philosophy and production values change with the network switch. Thinking back to when Sliders and The Outer Limits made the same jump, both of which suffered plummets in quality, stirs the pessimist in me. But I let him frolic on a long leash anyway, and general buzz is the sixth through eighth seasons are the most consistently good of the series.

I must confess, “Redemption, Part I” is a strange start. It is a very manic episode which jumps from scene to scene without connection between them. The SG-1 team is having a difficult time adjusting to life without Daniel. Jonas Quinn is just sort of hanging around SGC Colonel Chekov shows up randomly requesting a Russian officer join the SG-1 team. Area 51 has built an interstellar space ship from Goa’uld technology which turns out to not work when desperately needed.. Teal’c learns his wife is deathly ill. Anubis launches a plot to cause an overload of energy by holding open the stargate long enough to generate a explosion that could wipe out all life on Earth. Rodney McKay shows up to brainstorm a solution. Anubis pulls the Sith lord routine of appearing as an ominous hologram to announce his evil plan for Earth. That is about it.

There is one complimentary piint to be made. I like how Jonas is not immediately brought into the fold. He did not take part in the previous episode’s adventure. He does not play a huge part in this one, either. His only real connection is sam, who invites him to join the team in traveling to Area 51 to see the new space ship because his naquadria offering was pivotal in its construction. Jonas has a scientific nerd bond with Sam and a certain alien outsider kinship with Teal’c, but Jack does not care for him at all. Hammond does little more than humor Jonas’ ideas in the middle of the Anubis=created crisis. The bottom line is that only teal’c is open to Jonas joining the team at all. The others have not even considered the possibility. Their reaction is far more realistic than having Jonas hit the ground running as a vital, accepted part of the team.

That said, the rest of the episode is just sort of…there. Perhaps someone more fond of Teal’c’s personal drama feel more moved by his wife’s death and his son’s anger. Rya’c is angry because his mother died because she was forced to live under the harsh conditions of exile because of talc’s betrayal of Apophis. I have said before Teal’c is my least favorite character and the Jaffa rebellion the least compelling aspect of the series, so no surprise the drama does not mean much to me. The prospect of the Jaffa planning to attack Anubis in order to save earth is promising, however. We shall see tomorrow. The failed flight of the new space ship in an attempt to contact the asgard for help felt thrown in to fill time.

Events only being used to fill time is the problem with “Redemption, Part I.” I have a hunch, without having seen part two yet, the Sci Fi Channel premiere would have been better as a two hour movie. Not that such is a good excuse for the lackluster results. Even a two hour movie is going to be split into two episodes for syndication. I am not saying the episode is bad, mind you. It is that it goes from A to B to C. I am sitting in the backseat eagerly nudging, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” The answer is no, but I am still hoping.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Anne Hathaway

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Formspring Question #398--A House Divided Edition

How hard do you think the Republican majority in the house will be hit in November? Presumably some losses are inevitable now that the fever of 2010 has cooled (and some state-level republicans have over-reached in blue/swing districts).
You should take my answer with an even larger grain of salt than you do with the other subjects I spout off about. Outside of my home state, I can probably name fifteen or twenty House members. Discussing the dynamics involved in 410+ elections all across the country is well beyond my realm of expertise.

Generally speaking, I expect the republicans to take a loss. Voter interest is not fired up right now, and what little enthusiasm there is involves the presidential race. Unfortunately, with a candidate as vanilla as Mitt Romney, I do not expect enthusiasm to grow much between now and November. Somewhere along the line, conservatives are going to have to get excited about defeating Barack Obama.

But I doubt anti-Obama sentiment will translate to House races for three reasons:

One, midterm elections are referendums on the president. The only proactive way to comment on the president‘s performance in a midterm election is by voting against his party’s congressional nominees. In a presidential election year, they can target him.

Two, mitt Romney is not exciting enough to have coattails. Republicans will not be voting for him. As much as hey will be voting against Obama. If Romney campaigns feebly, social conservatives will stay home like they did in 2008. The same bloodbath will ensue.

Three, I do not think the Tea Party has the enthusiasm it did in 2010. Maybe they will get it back by November. The Tea party’s waning influence is fast becoming a motivation for veep speculation. First, it was some suggestion Rand Paul should be the eventual veep choice. Now there are rumblings about Allen West. Why? Because there are fears Paul is too conservative to last in Kentucky and West is too conservative for his new district. People are beginning to realize some Tea Party favorites are not a good fit for their districts. There will be course corrections come November, particularly in swing districts.

Taking a wild guess, I will say the republicans will suffer a net loss of ten or twelve. That is after some favorable redistricting has brought in some new Republicans. South Carolina has a new House district which is split from Joe “You Lie!” Wilson’s district. It is a guaranteed Republican pick up. I assume other redistricted states will be similarly positive. Seriously, is there such a thing as a Democrat controlled area that is actually growing in population?

Stargate SG-1--"Revelations"

“Revelations” serves as the fifth season finale. It is the first season ender that does not feature a cliffhanger. That is a little disappointing when one expects to eagerly anticipate an exciting resolution to begin the next season. Truth be told, the episode does not have a particularly epic feel. It does, however, feature a nifty adventure with some heavy emotional undertones and many…well, revelations which make it engaging.

The episode begins with Osiris about to attack a planet protected under the Asgard treaty when Thor shows up. Anubis has enhanced his fleet’s weapons, so Thor is no longer a match and he is quickly captured. Freyr travels to SGC to inform SG-1 the Goa’uld now have weapons capable of defeating the Asgard and requests they recover a geneticist from a hidden lab before the Goa’uld find her. It is of vital importance to the future of the Asgard.

The mood is somber around SGC. No one is quite certain what to make of daniel’s fate. I he dead? Will he return some day? They do not even have a memorial for him because of the confusion. Jack is eager to continue off world missions without a fourth member instead of waiting for a replacement. He is also the one who quickly accepts Freyr’s request even though he and Freyr have had it out with each other on two separate occasions because Freyr would not help him. There is a certain feeling that Jack is hoping for a suicide mission and Freyr’s request is as likely as any. He does not even wait for Hammond’s go ahead before agreeing to take it on. Sam is more distraught in her grief, but is at least not thinking rashly.

The SG-1 team is set to rescue Heimdall, a scientist who has been working on an issue the Asgard have been keeping a secret--they are a dying race. They lost the ability to reproduce the old fashioned way thousands of years ago. Since then, they have been placing their consciousness in cloned bodies. They have been cloned so many, they is now severely deteriorated. Heimdall needs to escape under the Goa’uld’s noses with one of the Asgard ancestors in suspended animation in order to continue her studies.

The SG-1 team agrees to help, but when Jack learns thor is still alive on Osiris’ ship and about to be tortured by Anubis, he insists on rescuing him. Getting in and out of a Goa’uld mother ship is, as one might expect, a suicide mission. Nevertheless, our heroes pull off both missions in style with a little help from Freyr and the asgard cavalry, though it is noted Thor has lapsed into a coma upon the removal of a torture device from his brain.

“Revelations” is an unusual season finale in its small scope. It is the SG-1 team, shaken by its recent intimate loss, rescuing Thor. Anubis shows up for the first time, but only posses the promise of menace. He does not do much more than act ominous and sadistic. Osiris is the bigger villain here, not that I am complaining. I like her. There is much exposition on the Asgard’s predicament, too. It is odd for there to be so much information to absorb which does not have immediately implications.

Nevertheless, there are some high points. For one, I cig a straightforward men on a mission story every now and then, and “Revelations” delivers. There are a few quieter moments that are great. Jack is alone cleaning his gun when he nearly has an outburst of grief over Daniel, but stops himself. Even though he is alone, he still cannot let his emotions out. Sam’s sorrow shows what close friends she and Daniel were. It is a nice touch to have Hammond console her with a story from his own life about losing a friend in Vietnam.

On a lighter note, I love Heimdal. She is much friendlier and more animated than the other Asgard. It is probably because she is voiced by Teryl Rothery and reflects some of her personality. Then there is this:Rothery appeared on set to deliver her lines to cast members interacting with Heimbal. she had a light for the other actors to focus on when talking to Heimdal. Unfortunately, the light was strategicall placed on her chest. Richard Dean Anderson and Christopher Judge had a difficult time keeping a straight face while delivering lines. Their difficulty shows even in the final takes. I cannot blame them Rothery is one nice looking lady.

Michael Shanks provides the voice of Thor for the final time until he returns to the series during the seventh season.

I like “Revelations” even if it is on a smaller scale than most season finales we have seen thus far. It fits in with how the fifth season has felt all along--good, but not really anything special. The season does end on an up tick with recent episodes, but mostly because characterization is emphasized over plot. Not a bad thing, mind you, but the series has done a better balancing act in previous seasons.

Rating: *** (out of 5)