Monday, January 25, 2010

Still Tracking the Sherlock Posts (Triptych Cryptic Import)

Here's an unnecessarily scathing review ("Boo-hoo, Downey didn't do a Rathbone impersonation and Watson wasn't a doddering near-buffoon") that left me wondering how boring the critic's own Sherlock's Last Case was.  I googled, curious how reviewers responded, and found a NYT review that didn't surprise me at all.

Elsewhere, linked to this examination of new film's well-crafted title sequences.

I still haven't seen Avatar and think my brother and I made the right choice going to see Sherlock Holmes instead.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fox readying U.S. version of 'Torchwood' (Time to Panic)

No, no, no. You can't reboot a series that is hooked (however loosely) into the continuity of another ongoing series. Fans of Doctor Who would have to ignore this new Torchwood-lite in order for the Who continuity to make sense. Else we'd have to reject the Who continuity -- which ain't gonna happen.

This article also mentions a possible US Who reboot (how reliable is this madness?) which is an even worse idea. US Who fans are watching the BBC Who and don't have room for a reboot. (Also, we remember the Fox movie.  How that remains in the canon is beyond me.)  The only way either of these alleged reboots could work would be to move production of both the current series to Fox. Does that sound wise?  Would you hand over the keys to your brilliant new luxury hybrid sports concept car to your idiot neighbor's meth-head stepson his first day out of juvenile detention?  Of course not.  That ginger-haired little tweaker'll wrap it around the telephone pole at the end of the block.  Fox would kill the franchise and then Who fans would have to wait another 20-odd years for the series to be revived.

Who and Torchwood belong on the BBC where, Who at least, has a shot at running for several more years. If Fox needs a Who property to sully, give 'em one of the old companions to reboot: The Peri Chronicles or something. Nothing against Peri, mind you, love her to pieces.  It could be the The Adventures of Leela and K-9.  Turlough & Adric Go to White Castle.  Hang on, we've got Rose and Doctor 10.2 off in the alternate universe ... they could have a go at that.  Just need to set ground rules. Starting with: no crossovers and no interference with the rest of the Whoniverse. It's strained enough already.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry (updated a bit later)

Monday, January 18, 2010


81-48, UConn over Duke.  wOOt!

(Meanwhile, the guys fall out of the Top 25 after losing to unranked Michigan.  Michigan?!) / Reportage - Moscow’s stray dogs

Every so often, you would see one waiting on a metro platform. When the train pulled up, the dog would step in, scramble up to lie on a seat or sit on the floor if the carriage was crowded, and then exit a few stops later. There is even a website dedicated to the metro stray ( on which passengers post photos and video clips taken with their mobile phones, documenting the ­savviest of the pack using the public transport system like any other Muscovite.

Posted via web from "Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No Country for Old Men (2007) - Flickchart

On Your Flickchart
Global Ranking
Finally saw "No Country for Old Men" yesterday. I went in with mixed expectations. Love the Coen Bros. movies, don't have much patience for (source novel author) Cormac McBoring's ponderous pondering. I haven't read the novel, and won't, but I have a feeling it's what's wrong with the movie. The performances were outstanding. Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem were all excellent. But the women in the movie weren't given much to do, and some of the dialogue was so painfully corndog I suspect it was straight from the book.
I'm glad I saw it, but if I'm ever faced with the choice of watching this or the other Coen Bros. set in Texas, "Blood Simple", the latter wins.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I Want the Geno Shirt!

Watching the Huskies go all Ben Grimm ("It's clobberin' time!") on Notre Dame, I'm a little nostalgic for the 2001 and 2002 teams: Svetlana Abrosimova, Shea Ralph, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Tamika Williams, Jessica Moore, Kelly Schumacher ... so many talented players it's unbelievable.  Taking nothing away from the current stars, Maya Moore & Tina Charles are clearly as talented as any of my old favorites; I just don't get to see this team or listen to the golden tones of Joe D'Ambrosio describing their exploits on the radio the way I could those teams, so these ESPN & CBS national games are my only chance to get to know today's players.
I'd really like to get to the MLK Day game vs. Duke.  The thought of setting foot on that campus kind of skeeves me out though.  On the other hand, it would be fun to throw the gear on and glare at the Dukies.

Update: The missus has to work Monday night, else I think we would've been going.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who Says It's Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away? (Triptych Cryptic Import)

Ol' TC has been my blogging home for so long that despite devolving from a lively group blog to a (mostly) one-trick-pony enhanced by the occasional bonedaddy post (and sure enough a post came in while this was sitting in draft) to break up the c-dog blitz, I've been loathe to give up on it.  And I'm not. Not exactly.  But, I am setting up another blog -- this time with the aim of making it my primary public web presence.  Yes, I'm already on friendfeed, twitter, posterous, and probably other platforms I've forgotten about, so it may seem silly to be setting up a new blogspot.  Oh well.  Silly may be what I do best.

If you've been a TC reader or lapsed conributor these past ten years, please consider paying a visit to

That's where I'll be when I'm not here.  (While you're there, why not add the feed to your favorite reader, or sign in with Google Friend Connect?  You could do worse, yeah?)

I'm going to do some experimenting with cross-posting -- posterous and even facebook (using Blog It app) give me the ability to post to one location and send those posts to both TC and the new Cryptonaut-In-Exile.  So please bear with me while I work out the kinks.  With all these sites that update each other, it's inevitable I'm going to create an echo-chamber effect and have double posting occurring somewhere in the dizzy maze I've created.

I know everybody is on facebook and/or twitter and probably feels they don't need another site to check out, but, while I'm plugging for my new blog, I also highly recommend friendfeed for its lively community, slick interface, and useful functionality.  I see it as the best of both those other services without the downsides.  And, your parents probably aren't on friendfeed.

Anyways, to sum up:
TC -- not dead yet, but our upcoming 10 year Blogiversary may be a good time to take its pulse again?
New blog -- just getting started
Friendfeed -- still highly recommended
Facebook & Twitter -- I'm on 'em but they're spammy and not as good as FriendFeed

P.S. a1pha of YOY, if you're reading, your hosting us the last several years is still greatly appreciated ... please don't shut us down yet!  TC is still a going concern and the domain is paid for and pointing to the same place for several more months at least.

I Sense Another Media Storm Brewing

Olbermann Angry With Armond: What's the line on movie critic blowhard White ending up on commentator bloward Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World list tonight? Maybe too personal for Olbermann to reference?

I like both by the way. I mean "blowhard" in the most kindest sense.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Priest charged with molesting boy ::

A priest at Catholic churches in Wayne and Duplin counties has been arrested and suspended from his job on allegations that he molested a boy in Brunswick County.
Rev. Edgar Sepulveda, 47, of 208 Cavenaugh St. in Beulaville, was arrested Friday on one count each of second-degree sexual offense and sexual battery. He was released on a $100,00 secured bond.
Wow. What shocking news. Again.
As a parent, I can't imagine what leads other people to believe their kids are safe with these guys? I mean, how many sexual abuse scandals does it take? If anything, the fact that these grown men have as their sole qualification for child care the fact that either they really believe in magical mumbo-jumbo, or can convincingly pretend that they do, ought to disqualify them from having any kind of contact with children.

I'd Rather Be Sniffed Than Irradiated

I don't fly much.  For a while there I had to quite a bit, but I don't see myself or the fam getting on a plane more than once or twice a year for the foreseeable future.  Airline security then isn't really all that high on my list of concerns except in that, like everyone else, I don't want to see another plane blown up or crashed by a religous wackjob.  Nor do I want my nightly news to be wall-to-wall nonsense about airline security every time a homicidal lunatic hids some explosives in his underpants and tries to kill a bunch of people by blowing his junk to smithereens.

So, there's all this noise about stepping up the profiling, putting more scanners in airports, and having intelligence agencies be able to connect the dots better.  You don't have to do to much research to see how much more at risk we all from any number of other threats (lightning strikes, drunk drivers, etc.) than we are from terrorist attacks so any approach to airline security should be looked at in the context of understanding the risk (in terms of likelihood and impact) we are trying to mitigate and the cost of our mitigation efforts. It doesn't make sense to pay too much for insurance against a risk that is minimal (in frequency) though great in impact when you get essentially the same efficacy from lower-cost  measures.  After all, it seems our greatest defense against these underpants bombers and their ilk is actually our fellow travellers.  (As has been pointed out to humorous effect by Stewart, Maddow, et al.) 

The teabaggers would have us believe everyone named Mohammed should get an anal probe at airport.  Others want to install a bunch of full body scanners (is it Total Recall I'm thinking of?) to irradiate millions of people on a daily basis.  (Granted the radiation levels are low, lower even than your last dental x-ray -- but there's a reason you shouldn't get x-rayed all the time, it's dangerous radiation that makes it more likely you're going to get all manner of bizarre cancers.)  Meanwhile, dumbfounding rules to make flying more of a hassle without actually having any demonstrable effect on safety are implemented. 

Here's my humble for suggestion: more dogs, strict adherence to what I'll call common-sense guidelines, and courtesy for those inconvenienced. 

The dogs are for sniffing.  I don't think dogs are a perfect solution, mind you.  False positives for dog-biscuits and bacon would likely increase as more bomb-sniffing dogs are deployed.  Still, I'd wager they're at least as effective at detecting underpants bombs as people looking at fuzzy scans all day long.  Let's not shut down entire wings of airports and hold up the world while a bag or person is checked.  I mean, can't we have the guy with the dog just take the person and their bag aside, do some further checking and analyze the actual situation without putting us all on red alert?

We have watch lists.  We have databases.  We have the interwebs.  Let's just get a little better at linking those things up so when someone has a name that's on a watchlist, has a denied visa application somewhere, is traveling one-way from a country we are currently bombing for being full of terrorist training camps, pays cash day of the flight, and has no bags to check, in that case a competent security person takes that person aside and has a nice chat with them while they are searched, mildly irradiated, and sniffed by dogs who know what explosives smell like. 

I think the idea that somehow someone was supposed to link all the disparate facts (that the underpants bomber's dad made a report in Nigeria, he had a denied visa application on file the UK, he didn't check bags and paid cash when he bought ticket, his name was on a watch-list) and use all that information to stop him from boarding the plane unless it was all readily accessible to the security personnel at the airport.  That's a lot of people all over the world doing their jobs properly, making timely updates to databases whose information can be accessed easily where the rubber meets the road.  

There may be people with common names, travelling on short notice for a perfectly valid reasons, who would be inconvenienced by this sort of security.  Once we've established there is nothing in their carry-on, nothing in their bung hole, a convincing and verified story to explain why their otherwise suspicious behavior makes sense, how about we comp them with cocktail on the plane, or if we've made them miss their flight, make sure they get help getting on the next one? I think it's important that the measures we take to keep us all safe are applied to everyone respectfully.  I'm supposing it really is inevitable that folks named Mohammed are going to be more likely to be impacted by whatever security measures are taken, so let's not do more to anger and alienate that segment of the world population.

Nothing will remove all risk of terrorism.  Until everyone in the world is free (from hunger, oppression, the deleterious effects of religous indoctorination) and has no reason to want to lash out at the world, there will always be risk of terrorism.  Even if we achieved a utopian world, there would still be mental defectives looking to kill for no real reason; we could never stop them all. All we can do is deal with the risk intelligently. When politicians and pundits propose reactionary nonsense, let's call them out and dress them down. When those same blowhards have somethinge else to say once they've proven they're idiots, let's ignore them and let the adults get on with the business of trying to make a better world for us all.  Can we do that?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This Brings Back Some Memories (Triptych Cryptic Import)

I miss Berenson's.

What if William Shakespeare wrote The Big Lebowski? : clusterflock

Nihilists! I am beshrewn. Say what thou wilt
Of fascist tenets, Knave; it seeks to stand
Philosophy and politic, not void.
And let it noted be that wildlife kept,
Amphibious rodent, in domestic walls,
Is retrograde to right and civil laws.

Posted via web from "Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Books - Sherlock Holmes, Shapeshifter - Robert Downey Jr.’s Version -

Had Conan Doyle been a better writer, the problem might never have come up. Holmes is so memorable because, like later superheroes, he is less a fully developed character than a collection of fascinating traits. Raymond Chandler once complained that Holmes was little more than a few lines of unforgettable dialogue and an attitude: the drug habit, the boredom, the violin playing, the show-offy logical deductions, which Conan Doyle freely admitted were based on one of his medical school professors.

Not a great article, but of interest for examining, if only superficially, why Holmes has endured.

Posted via web from "Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding."

A Long, Strange Trip Indeed (Triptych Cryptic Import)

Mr. Yamaguchi (survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki) has passed away.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tell Me a Joke

I'm dying to hear a funny joke so I can say, "That made me laugh so hard I just restored the original meaning to the phrase 'underpants bomber!'"
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Nice That He Got a Bit of a Victory Lap

This Is How We'll Remember Tennant And Davies - doctor who - io9

So, yeah, there are ridiculous plot holes and all, but I still enjoyed the end; enjoyed it much more than I thought I would after reading reaction posts yesterday.  I must be a bit sentimental.

The Oughts in Film: Part V (10-1). - Ghost in the Machine

I haven't seen a MotD list better than this one. 1-10 are linked here. The whole list is worth checking out though.

Posted via web from "Here's to plain speaking and clear understanding."

Out With the Old, In With the New Nu-Who

I was disappointed and skeptical when Eccleston left Doctor Who after only one series.  Tennant then came in and owned the role in a way I don't think anyone saw coming.  The change, in retrospect, was good.  I'm having rather the opposite feelings about Russel Davies moving on and Moffat coming in.  Davies has done some great work in bringing the show back and making it successful beyond what I would've dared hope, even though it was in genre dungeon on SyFy Friday night before falling further into TV obscurity on BBCA here in the States.  It's getting written about by my favorite TV critics (Sepinwall and Ryan) and has some degree of recognition beyond the cultists (amongst whom I include myself) -- and this time it's not for cheesy fx and ridiculous costumes.  

Mr. Davies has my undying gratitude for the work he's done in building the foundation for what I trust will be another long run for the show.  Under his watch we've had some of my favorite episodes ever: Blink, Tooth & Claw, School Reunion, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Human Nature/The Family of Blood.  But he's also given us some pedestrian episodes, and some downright lunacy.  I loved the way he brought the Master back, that was brilliant. But, I wouldn't dare try to say from memory what exactly the Master's plot was or exactly WTF was up with the wizened old Doctor and how the timeline was reset in that whole Utopia/Sound of Drums/The Last of the Timelords 3-parter.  The Series 4 finale wasn't any more comprehensible.  Now, writing this between parts 1 & 2 of The End of Time, I'm disappointed with the mess he's making of Tennant's swan song.  On the plus side, he's giving Moffat and the new crew nowhere to go but up with the mess of a story he's got going on here.  The flaw I see with Davies's stories is that he's been trying to find the 12, 13, & 14 settings on the Spinal Tap brand amplifier -- sacrificing logic and coherence for bombast. It's not just the Earth is in danger, or the galaxy, it's all of time and space and reality and alternate realities, all the time.  It's just too big and too ridiculous to care about, which is a shame because he's gotten great performances from his Doctors and companions that've been overwhelmed by the sheer silliness of the villain's schemes.  

Moffat's episodes have been consistently strong.  Most I've loved; none I've even disliked. I think Moffat may be the better storyteller, or at least has better sense of how to scale a story so, no matter the threat, the viewer has emotional buy in.  I'm intrigued to see that the River Song character is coming back and am curious what the result of having the Timelords and Gallifrey back will be.  The Doctor can be a little less brooding and troubled now that he's no longer the last, I think Tennant's wrung all the pathos out of that state of affairs.  

So, we'll see how it goes tonight when Tennant's run wraps up.  Thanks, Mr. Davies, for giving us back Dr. Who.  Please just don't exterminate it on your way out.  Thanks, Mr. Tennant, for giving us Doctor a new generation of fans (and much of the old generation, too)  can call their favorite.  Messrs. Moffat & Smith, we're waiting with baited breath to see what you're going to deliver.  
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