Saturday, September 29, 2012

Amelia's Last Farewell

New rule: when you see a gravestone with your exact full name on it ... run.

Spoilers follow.

Image via Tardis Newsroom

Before I go off and read the reviews and reactions, I want to just sit and be by myself with this one. It's a fairly dramatic milestone for the series, the departure of the Pond/Williamses, and it's one of the more emotionally resonant ones. If feels final. Rose's did, too, but of course she came back; still, I feel like they've given us the final chapter (and afterword, as it were) of Amy and Rory's story. I'm not sure the logic of why the Doctor can't see them again is valid. I can understand his not being able to go back to Manhattan, 1938, but, if Amy's going to be a publisher, it doesn't seem like she's going to be forced to stay in New York. She and Rory are going to live a long time and surely the Doctor could meet them later, somewhere else? Or can't he because he read in the book that he didn't?

Amy and Rory at least got to be together, it's the Doctor (and the fans) who bear the brunt of the loss. That seems fair and is ultimately why I like this story more than the Rose, Martha, and Donna farewells. (Martha's wasn't brutal like Rose and Donna's were, but it was unsatisfying because she was too good a character to throw away as the "rebound" companion.)

A few things don't quite sync up for me emotionally in this one though: the relationship between River and the Doctor; and, that there's apparently no thought of Rory's dad?  Have they been travelling for very long together again since where we left off the end of the last episode, that the promise nothing will happen to them is old and forgotten?

The Doctor spiffing up to see River, that was well played, but the rest of the their time together feels like we're looking in on abusive relationship. River's broken wrist, her warning to Amy to never let the Doctor see her age because he doesn't like it, this is some uncomfortable stuff.

The Weeping Angels & the cherubs, those are still creepy and great. The Statue of Liberty, frozen in the same place in both the private eye's beginning sequence, and then later when Amy and Rory flee to the same roof, that comes off as just having run out of money to show the Liberty angel any other way.

Now, the long wait for the Christmas special begins.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Election Expert Richard Hasen on Voter Fraud and Disenfranchisement

Bill Moyers: Election Expert Richard Hasen on Voter Fraud and Disenfranchisement

voter fraud

Feeney: What is the most common type of election-related fraud? 
Hasen: We see many more cases of fraud related to election officials or absentee balloting than impersonation fraud. For my book The Voting Wars, I could not find a single case in the last generation where it's even remotely possible that impersonation fraud without the collusion of election officials was responsible for changing an election. [Emphasis mine.]
We see many more cases of fraud related to election officials or absentee balloting than impersonation fraud. Election officials are often political appointments, or they're elected on partisan grounds. We are alone among mature democracies in having such a partisan, hyper-localized system for running our elections, as opposed to a non-partisan national agency in which the people who run elections have their allegiance to the integrity of the process and not to a particular political party.
This is why I get so pissed off when hand-wringing conservatives bleat so plaintively, "Why, oh why, is it controversial to impose draconian ID laws on registered voters?" Because, Mr. "I-Have-A-Driver's-License-Why-Doesn't-Everyone-Else?", the real problem is election fraud, not in-person voter fraud. WE SHOULD SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS FIRST. Any effort to have time and resources wasted on a fake problem, when there is rampant abuse by the partisan officials running the elections that needs to be addressed immediately, is tantamount to criminal.

Don't pretend like you mean well. You don't, and it's transparent you don't. Voter ID laws sound reasonable, absent of context, but are not. When you ignore the real problem to take on a fake problem, all you're doing is proving you're part of the problem. Stop it.

Ted Williams homers at his last at bat - Curt Gowdy announces - 9/28/1960

Ted Williams homers at his last at bat - Curt Gowdy announces - YouTube

See also:

Jim Caple's piece on from a couple years back.

John Updike.

Fugazi Edits - Chris Lawhorn

New Album: Fugazi Edits - Chris Lawhorn
In late October, I’ll be putting out an album of instrumental tracks created using samples from Fugazi’s catalog. The project’s being released with the band’s permission and will benefit a couple different charities.


Thursday was WHOsday, Springfield Punx delivers some Pertwee and a Rory

Springfield Punx: A WHOsday full of more 3rd Doctor (and Rory)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"I am a Zen samurai. I am invincible." | Labor South profiles James Meredith 50 years after Ole Miss

Labor South: James Meredith, still a loner, still on a mission, 50 years later:

James Meredith, via
He would and will always be that lonely figure, a mystic and a mystery, who stepped onto the stage at a critical moment, braving more than his share of what Shakespeare called the “slings and arrows,” showing unimaginable courage and fortitude, enough to override those baffling moments since then. That includes even now as he rejects the statue of him on the campus he integrated as a “false idol” that “must be destroyed and ground to dust.”

It's Food Truck Thursday! @Sympathy4Deli

Another first for me, today I'm trying Sympathy for the Deli ...

Sympathy for the Deli
Sympathy for the Deli truck
Looking over the menu, there are a bunch of things I want to try. When I see a Reuben, I almost always get the Reuben. The BLT is a buck twenty-five cheaper and could be used as justification to get two sides. It'll have to be a game time decision made after checking to see if there are any specials on the board. 

Peakles ("spicy, pickled sugar snap peas") look intriguing, but herb-rubbed kettle chips sound like an excellent sandwich complement as well. Wanting to try both on a budget is making me lean towards the BLT. Decisions, decisions ...

... And I went with the Reuben.  BLT wasn't on the menu today. A few of pickled pea pods came on the side of my chips, so I still got to sample both sides. Good stuff. I'll spare you my usual OMG TEN DOLLARS FOR LUNCH! griping because you've heard it all before. It is what it is, right? Relative to the other food trucks I've been trying lately, I think this one may have delivered the most value for the buck.

I used to like my Reubens heavy: heavy with butter in the bread, heavy on the dressing, heavy on the swiss, and good-n-greasy pastrami. These days, not so much. I was quite happy with my lean-ish pastrami (could've been a little pepperier for my taste, but I don't imagine anyone would be disappointed with it), the rye flavorful and lightly grilled. Overall, it was a well-balanced Reuben that hit the spot. The herbed chips were tasy and the peakles were a nice change of pace, but I was fine with the sample size.

Reuben, chips, and a few peakles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Any North Carolina Libertarians planning to hold their nose and vote Romney interested in a vote pairing arrangement?

handshake agreement

As a registered Democrat prepared to vote Obama, but who'd rather vote for Jill Stein, I'm wondering if there's any registered Republican with Libertarian leanings who's declared their intention to vote for Romney, but would rather vote Gary Johnson?

If so, we should talk.

Vote pairing isn't so unusual. However, it looks like the sites that used to facilitate this process have gone offline so we'd have to come to a gentleman's agreement. I've been open and direct about my intent to vote Obama in 2012, and did vote for him in 2008. But, if I could be satisfied that someone on the right with the equivalent dilemma, who's already on record either on a blog, on twitter, or somewhere reasonably verifiable as planning to vote for Romney, I'd be willing to vote for Jill Stein if that person would vote someone other than Romney.

NC is, I think, going to end up going Romney anyways. There are some recent polls that have Obama taking the lead back here; but, Nate Silver currently has NC 68.9% likely to go for Romney. If we were dark red, I wouldn't offer the pairing, I'd just vote Stein. Same if the state were dark blue. I dread the prospect of this state going Romney in a close count though, so I'll need to trust the integrity of any prospective partner in this operation. It'd probably take a few conversations, or a really good one over a beer, before I'd commit to the scheme.

Let me know here in the comments or on Schemer.

Has anyone else on the left considered this, or heard of anyone else in a swing/close-to-being-a-swing state trying to make a similar arrangement?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cartoon Challenge 1

Once again, I'm reading TMW (courtesy of Sparky's List) before it's published and dying to post something about it, but not wanting to break the rules of the list and share any details before it goes live. This time, I'm pre-programming a post to pop up Monday morning at about the time it should be available, but with twist.

I've taken a panel and made a template you, dear reader, can use to compose a single panel of a toon you would write about R-Money's damning 47 percenter comments from back in May. Artwork's all set, just needs some words. After you've got your panel, you can jump over to Daily Kos and see what the pro wrote. 

Go ahead, give it a go! Can you imagine how hard it would be to do this every week? To be topical, funny, and able to produce the artwork all on a deadline, with your ability to pay the mortgage riding on your success? It takes some brass.

Fill in the blanks for a fabulous no-prize!
I won't ask you to do anything I'm not willing to do myself, so here's my crack at it ...

Good ol' Seamus. Nothing he loved more than the taste
of laid-off worker flesh before a long car ride.

As you can see, I'm clearly not cut out for this line of work. Brass. And that's why you should sign up for Sparky's List and help Tom Tomorrow remain in the middle class! 


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Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Slow Invasion

Off the top, you need to know this is full of spoilers. Avert your gaze unless you want'em.

Wave the sonic screwdriver around and solve everything at the last moment takes care of menace that were a legend to the Gallifreyans? That's a bit too easy, isn't it? Apart from the relative ease with which the threat was dispatched, I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would from the trailers. Having the Doctor go bonkers while housebound was entertaining and felt like acknowledgment that my concern  the episode would feel small and claustrophobic was noted and would addressed by hyperkinetic waiting.

Zygons under the Savoy, mentioned as an aside during pop out from the Pond's daily life, that's great stuff. I love when we see snippets of adventures that aren't shown. It's always bothered me that 9's regeneration was so short, one adventure to the next with no time away from Rose, and then he's gone and we basically saw it all. With 10 (Rose and the Doctor dashing through the streets of London on an adventure we knew nothing about) and now with 11 we get these mad asides that show we're seeing glimpses of a larger universe, and there are whole other stories we're missing out on: adventures with River, the Doctor traveling alone between spells with the Ponds. Matt Smith even looks a little older, doesn't he? Less smooth-faced these days; he looks more experienced.

Oh! It's satisfying to know there's a Stewart in charge at UNIT, isn't it? And she looked familiar, which I turned into a suspicion that she might be related to Nicholas Courtney. However, checking her on wikipedia, I see Jemma is Redgrave, a niece of Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave. (Note to self: Jemma Redgrave is in the 2007 version of Mansfield Park with Billie Piper, that might be worth a look? Maybe The Buddha of Suburbia, too? That one's got Naveen Andrews in a pre-Lost starring role.)

Brian, Rory's dad, is a welcome sight again this week. He would make a great companion.

For an episode about a year of waiting for something to happen, then a third of the world having heart attacks and being remote defibrillated in the span of about an hour in story time, this episode delivered a lot of satisfying moments, making it more than just set up for next week's ... death of the Ponds?! Well, let's hope the teaser didn't show them jumping off a skyscraper to their deaths and that was just ... well, a tease.

Just flicked over to Sepinwall and I see he's got a very similar reaction to mine, though he's seems to have enjoyed it slightly less.

The AV Club has a review up as well. Again, I think we're all reacting in roughly the same fashion.

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Titus Andronicus Coming ...

Something to look forward to on the music front ... | Telling you what you already know. But, still fun ...

Quiz results notwithstanding, I think NC will be close again, hence I'm voting for Obama. The only surprise here is how much I agree with Obama. Probably warrants a closer look at the methodology and sources.

Where the quiz says I'm not on the same side as Obama on: the death penalty, the Patriot Act, gun control, decriminalization of drugs, campaign finance reform, immigration, space exploration, Afghanistan, Israel, treatment of Gitmo prisoners, farm subsidies, federal minimum wage, the bank bailout, welfare requirements, and offshore drilling. Some of these are a pretty big effing deal, as Biden would say. Surprised my score can be so high when the differences are so stark. (Ah, for much of the quiz I skipped the Choose Another Position stance when in some cases the additional answers would've been more appropriate. Oh well.)

If you take it, did you get the candidate you're voting for this fall?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "Voter Integrity Project" is anything but. NC news outlets should do some research before taking Tea Party groups at their word.

Perry, who has been registered to vote in North Carolina since at least 1975, according to election records, was dismayed to receive a letter this month from the Wake County Board of Elections suggesting she may no longer be qualified to vote because she might be dead. 
"My initial reaction? I was mad as hell," Perry said Monday morning.
Rachel showing our local news outlets how it ought to be done:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

When a group of frauds roll up with a bogus list, crying like babies about (non-existent) voter fraud, it behooves one to check their credentials and see where the money is coming from. There's no integrity in their project; the name is a cloak for a voter suppression outfit and they ought to be ridden out of town on a rail.

If you see this active fraudist coming,
guard your voter registration card.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Women of Film Noir | NCMA Film Festival


The women of film noir. Innocent or sinister. Hard boiled or sweet as pie. They are one of the reasons these films from half a century ago remain edgy and appealing. There are so many ways to behave and misbehave in the dark alleys of noir.
Just learning about this now! Aaargh. Now to figure out if there's a way to juggle schedules to at least make it to one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If it's Tuesday, it must be another Food Truck for lunch! @ChirbaChirba

Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck: Home

Good eats here!

OK you guys, it's another day, another food truck, and another chance for me to say "OMG it's so good! But why so expensive?" because that's essentially been every one of my food truck reviews in a nutshell thusfar.

When did I become Scrooge McDuck?! (via)

So yeah, like I said last time, I think I just need to get in the mindset that food truck food is convenient, and you pay a bit of a premium for the food to come to you. My other choice is some pretty gross stuff in the cafeteria here at work, which I'd pay just as much if not much for anyways. If you are willing to pay about a buck a dumpling in theory, you will not be disappointed with Chirba Chirba in practice. I just wolfed down five of the Bayside Chive dumplings and loved them. I could eat five more no problem ... but I can't justify spending $11 for lunch.

If you get a chance, try 'em out. And vote for them here; I just did.

Monday, September 17, 2012

150 years isn't that long ...

Think about it this way: Morgan Freeman was born in 1937; later that year Edith Wharton, who was born in January of 1862, died. I know you know Morgan Freeman. If you didn't read Wharton's Ethan Frome in high school English class, you may have seen the film version of The Age of Innoncence. That's all it takes in overlapping lifetimes to get us back to Antietam.

from the Antietam National Battlefield flickr page
Lincoln meets with McClellan after the battle.
Five days after the battle, Lincoln delivered the preliminary Emancipation Declaration.

Only 150 years ago!

Freedom and American democracy are newer than we often acknowledge. Only 150 years since that crucible of savagery, after which three more years of war followed. And how free was every American at the end of the Civil War? Think about how long after that before the Civil Rights movement the 1960s galvanized people of conscience against Jim Crow. And it's not just a history of black and white, it's also a history filled with labor strife ... the progressive movement fighting for the rights of laborers -- hard fought battle after battle against oligarchy. The end of slavery, the long march to relative economic equality of opportunity for all Americans, it's all so recent!

And, make no mistake, it's still fragile. It can still go back to the way it was. Unions are reeling, schools are re-segregating, economic inequality is on the rise, and even voting rights are being attacked.

We've come a long way in a short time; but, history has not ended and the matter is by no means settled.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

An unlikely sentence and a classic photo from the SI Vault

Trying to get back into the race with speeding New York, - 05.31.76 - SI Vault:
And thanks to Owner George Steinbrenner's ukase against long hair, the Yankees even had a sleek look to complement their racy attack.
You may have noticed I'm not talking much about the Sox lately. It's not that I'm not paying attention, it's just that it's so ... frustrating.

But, it's fun to remember years when the Sox/Yanks rivalry was relevant. I read this article because the picture popped up on facebook and found myself wondering if "ukase" was a typo. It's not.

So I'm posting this because I learned a new word, got to revive my distaste for Martin & Steinbrenner's mid-70s Yankees teams, and love this photo of Fisk unmasked, laying into (not especially sleek looking) Lou Piniella's kidney:

The Yanks, by the way, ended up playing the Reds in the 1976 World Series, as the Sox (famously) had the year before, and they also got worked over by the Big Red Machine.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Town Called 'Mercy' | Struggle after struggle, year after year ...

The title of tonight's episode brings the Jam's classic tune, A Town Called Malice, to mind ... but I digress.

*Obligatory spoiler alert here*

This episode was a bit of a volatile mix of mercy and malice. They cyborg's malice is justified, his mercy for the townspeople tenuous, but enough to make him a complete character, more than just a vengeance engine. The (other) alien doctor's malice is in his past and his mercy has endeared him to the humans he's turned into shields against the cyborg. He was a monster for a cause during a war, now he's less of a monster, trying to make amends.

Our alien Doctor is out of sorts here as well. Hi mercy tested by a man he clearly sees plenty of himself in; his malice restrained by Amelia's compassion.

All those internal struggles should have made for a somewhat more satisfying drama, but pacing and a lack of sufficient things for everyone to do -- Rory, it's your job to get shot at again; Marshall, it's your job to take the bullet and pass the star -- make this one feel like it's spinning its wheels a bit. That feeling was reinforced by the Doctor's decision to essentially resolve the conflict by ... punting. Instead of either deciding to turn the doctor over to the cyborg or finding a solution that allows the doctor to face justice with due process, his decision is to help the doctor escape and, apparently, let the cyborg continue the hunt. Fine for the people of Mercy, but basically kicking the can down the road for the problem to work itself out on some other planet. It doesn't end up that way, but when the final resolution is reached, it's more because the Doctor showed up and stirred the pot than because of any wisdom or clarity he brought to the conflict.

Alan Sepinwall noted one way this episode didn't track from the last,
During the dinosaur episode, Amy admits that she's just hanging around in her life, waiting for the Doctor's next visit now that he's trying to see less of her for her own good. Yet this week, she not only gets a good example of what happens to her childhood friend when she's not around enough, she gets an offer to keep the current trip going, and instead declines to return to her mundane life in England.
I'll add this observation: last week, Amy grabs a sci-fi rifle is capable of holding a bunch of velociraptors at bay with an action hero tagline and everything; this week she's accidentally firing her six-shooter all over the place like a goof. (She does deliver my favorite line of the episode though, "Why would he want to kill you unless he's met you before?" That worked.) We get that she's had a few months off between adventures, but she really got rusty in that time. Too rusty.

Grading this episode out, I'm on the fence between a C+ and B-.  The last couple weeks were in the A-/B+ range.

Nice to see Ben Brower, by the way. Almost unrecognizable behind the facial hair, grime, and accent.

I'm missing Mo Ryan's write-ups, hope to see her come back to the show after the fall season finale.

Next week we'll see Rory's dad again, and be back in contemporary London ... again. (Yeah, I winced a little there. Contemporary London episodes have been feeling a bit claustrophobic lately.)

Ten Years Later: Remembering a great day at Fenway ...

cryptonaut-in-exile: Fenway Rocks
Jackie Chan (!) threw out the first pitch ... I had no idea he was going to be there ... and I got a Jackie Face On A Stick. Drank tons of beer, ate sausages, and peanuts, and ice cream, then had more beer ... Tif reminds me I should also be bragging about how my girl bought me a new hat, one of the caps with Ted Williams's number 9 on the front. It's sweet.
And I still wear it. As a matter of fact, I'm wearing it now.

The Jackie Chan Face On A Stick, on the other hand, is lost to the mists of time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Whew ... it's not just me mistaking Ellen Barkin for Cameron Diaz

ellen barkin cameron diaz - Google Search

I was all like, "If that's not Cameron Diaz in those spots for The New Normal, who is it?"

Ellen Barkin! Of course, that explains it.

I'm comforted that this confusion has been taking place for some years and I don't need a new eyeglass prescription.

And now I'm feeling my age as I realize how long it's been since Buckaroo Banzai and The Big Easy were in theaters. Twenty-eight years since Banzai! That means we are as far now from its debut as we were then from Elvis's screen debut in Love Me Tender. That was ancient history to me then! That means ... oi.

The Tao of Ping Pong

Playing Ping Pong in China: Profiles: GQ

Ping-pong would be my salvation. It would not only help me meet Chinese people, it would earn me their respect. Whereas in the U.S. ping-pong enjoys about the same esteem as dodgeball, China puts its champions on prime time. I'd prove I was more than just a big-nosed idiot foreigner—I was a big-nosed idiot foreigner who could excel at a sport they revere. If ping-pong could make Chinese people like Nixon, I just might have a shot, too.
Side notes:
The Tao of Pong is actually the name of a movie. Go figure.
Blazing Paddles was the Backyardigans take on Ping Pong action.
Jim McPherson plays a mean game in the Kim Stanley Robinson's The Gold Coast.
Of course, there's Christopher Walken in Balls of Fury.
Yes, yes, Forrest Gump. Others gathered here as well.
Dang, I missed the chance to watch this documentary.
Susan Sarandon, cougar of the ping pong world?!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Hartford Courant getting a little sloppy in the rush to get all their Calhoun tributes up ...

I trust these will be fixed soon.

New GET YOUR WAR ON Video in case you forgot how to read. | Blog Archive | New GET YOUR WAR ON Video

Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun, 70, steps down at UConn

Stage Is Set For Jim Calhoun Exit, Kevin Ollie Entrance - CTnow

Coach Calhoun waves farewell as new coach Kevin Ollie looks on. 
Three NCAA championships at a cow college in the hills of eastern Connecticut. He's done as much as anyone to improve the campus over the last quarter century, and by extension, the experience of all the students at UConn. He helped put Storrs on the map.

He's not the coach you look back on and say, "In a dirty business, he was a paragon who held his players to higher standard," maybe athletically, but probably not academically, and in some troubled times, not even in terms of character, though the characters that besmirched the reputation of his program ("Laptop!") should never detract from the legacies of players of like Emeka Okafor and Ray Allen, among others, who excelled beyond the court. I'm glad to see Kevin Ollie, one of Calhoun's best guards -- and that's an elite group -- assume the mantle; it must make Coach tremendously proud to be able to pass the baton to one his young men. That's a pride he's earned.

Calhoun's support of cancer research may be as much a part of his legacy as his legendary coaching achievements. I have friends expressing personal gratitude to him for his work to fight that dreaded disease because his efforts are helping them in their own battles against it. We can't thank him enough for that.

You know, it's amazing how lucky we Huskies have had it. As we celebrate the career of Jim Calhoun, it probably hasn't escaped the notice of many that he was actually the second best coach at UConn behind the man hired to coach the women a year before he arrived. I say that not to detract to Calhoun's accomplishments, only a statement of fact.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Religion of peace? (Show, don't tell.)

An Israeli filmmaker based in California who made a movie belittling Islam’s prophet Muhammad that has ignited Middle East riots and led to the death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya says he is in hiding. 
Sam Bacile, 56, who described himself as an “Israeli Jew” who develops real estate in California, told the Associated Press by phone that he went into hiding Tuesday after assaults by conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya. 
In the Tuesday night attack on a consulate in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed, along with three other Americans.
I don't know, or care about, Sam Bacile. I don't care how much his movie belittled Muhammad. I don't care that he's Jewish*, except to say I don't give a crap about and Jewish prophets either and have no problem with anyone belittling them if they so choose. Christian prophets? Sure, throw them in the mix. South Park them all.

Islam, no matter what it's most pacific, wise, and humble practitioners may claim, is not a religion of peace. Nor is the Jewish religion, nor is the Christian. Sure, they've all got some nice words about peace and love, but they all couch them in muddled, superstitious bullshit, and give their followers just as much incitement to violence and hatred as they do love and compassion. Even Buddhism  has it's warriors. With the possible exceptions of Jainism and the Society of Friends, I'm not sure any religion has a valid claim to being peaceful. All would be improved by a dose of secularism and an enhanced appreciation of logic, truth, and the scientific method.

As an atheist, I don't care what what you, or anyone believes when it comes to religion. As a secularist,  I implore you to keep your religion, whatever it is, to yourself. Stop expecting anyone to give you preferential treatment, or tiptoe around your brand of superstition. Being demonstrably wrong about the nature of reality doesn't make you special.

The instant your religious feelings tell you it's time to get violent and start killing some people, that should be the exact instant you realize your religious feelings are fucked up and you need help -- and this is crucial -- from outside your religion, to get over it. Can you imagine a world where nobody took up arms against their fellow man over imagined slights against fictional characters? As a wise man once said, "it's easy if you try."

My thoughts are with the friends and families of those killed by barbarians last night. Perhaps some day the words السلام عليكم will only ever uttered by peaceful people with genuine intent to honor their literal meaning.

* Update: we learned later that the original reporting was inaccurate; Bacile is a pseudonym for some lunatic evangelical, or Coptic, or something. Doesn't change anything though.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

Was a Samuel L. Jackson cameo too much to hope for? (Yes.) Anyways ...

To take the pulse of the smart critics, I always go to Mo, Alan, & the AV Club after the show; but, as I sit to write Mo doesn't have a review up yet, Alan's is scant, and the AV Club heard "moon racists," hilariously -- and incorrectly, of course -- where the line was "the races that live there will be livid," so I'm giving them demerits this week.

This was another highly entertaining, easily re-watchable adventure with ties to the classic series, a bit of randomness (a big game hunter and an Egyptian queen ... not to mention Rory's father), and some credulity-straining bits that (not bad enough to drag it down). Plenty of (robot) humor and playing it broad, which I enjoyed immensely, and which contrasted well with the the really vicious baddie. Poor Tricey, that was brutal. I suspected Solomon was going to be shown the door (perhaps in the same fashion he'd dealt with the Silurians) with that second display of cruelty to make a point.

Another thing I'm liking in the early going of this season, along with the willingness to go gonzo and employ a bit of the ol' sucker punch:  we're not getting clobbered with Bad Wolf or a clearly untenable arc, but we are getting intimations ...

... conversations that are too awkward, and troubled glances (in a nice bit of blocking) -- poignant reminders the Ponds are not long for the show.

This season is off to a much better start than the last. Moffatt may be hitting his stride.

A revolutionary war veteran with no patience for Confederate rebels ...

Father Waldo's America -

Daniel Waldo, aged 102.
Sleep eluded the clergyman Daniel Waldo during the eve of his 100th birthday on Sept. 10, 1862. The former chaplain of the House of Representatives tossed and turned in bed at his home in Syracuse, lost in thought. What kept him awake were not reflections on his past, but concerns about the future of the Republic. Waldo had lived long enough to know firsthand that the leaders of the Southern rebellion were in deadly earnest, for he himself was once a rebel.
Neat aside: the house Father Waldo was born in still stands in Scotland, CT.

The Waldo Homestead
(click picture to visit Historic Buildings of CT)

I'm not a fan of the congressional chaplaincy, but the history is intriguing nonetheless.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Duke player, being a Duke player, does Duke-y stuff #Duke

Duke's Thomas bought $97k in jewelry senior year, failed to pay -

So that's why they called them "dukie ropes"
Lance Thomas purchased five pieces of diamond jewelry at a cost of $97,800 on Dec. 21, 2009, in the middle of his senior season, according the lawsuit. Documents included with the suit indicate he made a $30,000 down payment and received $67,800 in credit from the firm, the balance that remains unpaid.
Like a Gingrich.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

He-Man Woman Hating Republicans are sick of the Gabby Giffords Pity Parade

Nothing says "I'm a man who built that!" like telling Gabby Giffords to just fucking get over it already.

Steven's got a fair enough point, which applies (double) to Republicans who throw lush celebrity filled champagne parties to remind us what they care about: corporation's rights, stealing healthcare from sick kids to fund tax cuts for billionaires, and grinding the middle class under their heels.

But ... but this other guy, who is indignant that Gabby Giffords had the unmitigated gall to make an appearance at her party's convention after being gravely wounded by a gun-wielding maniac while serving her constituency ... I don't know what to say to that guy? Probably best to say nothing. Best for my blood pressure, at least.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another day, another food truck: Pie Pushers

Pie Pusher

To get straight to the brass tacks: a fine, if unremarkable, slice of pizza and a tasty side of garlic knots undermined by cold tomato sauce for dipping.  I got a single specialty slice, the "Local Farm Hand," which featured carmelized onions, local sausage (meh, not a lot of it and no discernible taste), and mushrooms. The crust was fine, the slice was hot and fresh, the sauce was not bad, but not special, and it was a decent size, but felt overpriced* at $4. The garlic knots, 3 decent sized lumps dough with whole garlic cloves folded in were closer to reasonable at $3, but if I were making the menu at what I thought (knowing nothing about food truck economics) were fair prices for food that came to me, they'd have been $2, and the slice of pizza would've been $3.

* It's not lost on me that I seem to find everything overpriced. I may be getting to the age where the noggin isn't properly adjusting prices for inflation based on a lifetime of experience stretching back to the 1970s. "I remember when a loaf of bread was nickel," my grandparents would say. "Yeah, but Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President then and things have changed," I remember thinking. Am I stuck in the Reagan 80s? What a horrible thought.

From penning the Song of the Century to adopting the Rosenberg children ...

The Strange Story Of The Man Behind 'Strange Fruit' : NPR

Image via
One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he's also tied to another watershed moment in America's history.
Well, that was intriguing listening on the way into work this morning. And how about the list of Meeropol's fellow alumni from Dewitt Clinton HS in the Bronx?

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Silence at the RNC #DoctorWho

Have to time delay this post from Sparky's List, so it'll pop Monday morning. You can check the whole 'toon out at Daily Kos, but the panel that I'm digging now (Friday night ... it's all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey up in here) fits with the S7 premiere tomorrow ... that is to say, Saturday night.

Why does no one remember? We're all to busy Eastwooding.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

#DoctorWho Series 7 finally arrived and we met Soufflé Girl

Jenna Louise Coleman as Oswin in "Asylum of the Daleks"
As usual, we can pretty much rely on Mo, Alan, and the AV Club for quality reviews, so I'll just provide those links and leave it at this: I don't think we're going to miss Amy Pond for all that long. (As for Rory, well, we'll be inconsolable.) Ms. Coleman was outstanding as Oswin, out-acting the rest of the cast and none of them exactly slouches, though I'm picking on Amy a bit because Ms. Gillan is clearly the least accomplished of the mains.

I'm very curious as to how she will be brought back. Internet consensus seems to be Oswin will be picked up from earlier in her timeline. I wouldn't put it past Moffatt though to simply recast Ms. Coleman; there's precedence for it what with Freema Agyeman having played Martha's identical cousin, or some such silly explanation, at Torchwood first.

As for the overall episode, it was pretty strong. Not the greatest.  Like many, I just didn't buy the last minisode of Pond Life nor the continuing and escalated strife depicted at the beginning of this episode. It felt forced. Rory was the freaking Centurion for crying out loud! There was also some internal contradiction about the nature of the Daleks vis-à-vis fear: the Doctor shames them for being afraid of the Asylum planet, then later tells Amy her fear of being converted is good because Daleks don't fear. Which is it, y'know?

And, hey, Daleks, when you kidnap the Doctor to force him into a mission for you, don't feel obliged to bring the TARDIS aboard your ship and park it in the middle of your parliament. Which strategic genius thought that was a good idea? Hiring from the Romney campaign group in charge of selecting which speakers get network coverage during the RNC?

Also, there's a Dalek parliament?! WTF.

So, yeah, don't pick the dangling threads, let the deuses ex machinate and all that ... just focus on the brilliant performances, witty repartee, and ZOMBIE DALEKS (!) -- a welcome change from the brightly colored iDaleks -- and this was a load of fun.

Can't wait 'til next week ...

The Fighter KO's Scott Brown

Joe. My. God.: Quote Of The Day - Micky Ward

Scott Brown has an idea how Arturo Gatti felt.
"I can’t support Scott Brown. I just can’t do it. I found out Scott is anti-union and I’m a Teamster guy. I found out he’s also against gay marriage and I say if you love someone you should have the same rights no matter who you are." - Boxing legend Micky Ward, retracting his endorsement of Sen. Scott Brown ...
Surprised this was news to him, but glad to see the Warrior's Code is honorable.

Ali-Patterson: The Real Story

Ali-Patterson: The Real Story | : Alex Belth Article:

Love Patterson's smile in this photo. Via SoE
Now, you have to keep in mind, too, that one of Ali's mentors was the professional wrestler Gorgeous George, who advised him that he could make a lot more money as a villain than he could as a hero. So Ali, who had a genius for fight promotion, would play up his villainous role. He sidled up to Patterson before their fight and, essentially, said, “You want to make some money, Floyd? Play along.” Patterson understood the shtick.
Ali didn't mind Patterson calling him Cassius. Ernie Terrell did not have permission and paid for it.

Area man fearlessly informs local free newspaper his self-published militaristic adventure novels stack up with the most popular novels since Harry Potter.

Wade believes “Invasion USA” would make a great movie or even television series. But before that can ever happen he needs to start gaining more public recognition, a very difficult task for an independent author. 
“The easiest part of the process is the actual writing,” said Wade. “The hardest part is trying to promote it. (“Invasion USA”) is as good as “The Hunger Games” or “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The only difference is that people don’t know I exist. But it is coming. People are starting to learn about my books.”
As good as Fifty Shades, you say? You're leaving yourself lots of room to suck there, my man.

Now, I'm still waiting on my first copy of The Hunger Games to free up at the local library, but I gather from friends that have read the books that they're very entertaining; so, here he's stacking himself up against some pretty hefty competition that he seems to be lumping in with glorified Twilight fanfic in a cavalier way that could, I say could, make the reader fearful he can't tell the difference between competently executed YA adventure fiction and one of the most incompetently executed dream journal-esque prose dumps ever self-published. The peril there is we might then distrust his assessment of his own books. Just saying.

Here's a snippet that is full of what, I trust, is necessary to the story detail about a character landing a small aircraft ... and not the author just dumping everything he knows from personal experience about flying small aircraft:

Hmm. There's a "dark, stormy night" in there that feels an awful lot like playing with fire ...

In any event, here's wishing Mr. Wade all the success in the world. I'd love to be out promoting my own series of (unwritten) novels, truth be told, and will be watching with interest to see if this series bucks the odds and takes off. And, doesn't get confused with the other Invasion USAs out there.

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