Thursday, May 31, 2001

Once I Noticed

Matt's writing at Once I Noticed I Was On Fire again. It's about time.

Taking up the challenge...

to find bad sci-fi actors turned bad author, I give you Walter Koenig. The other part of m.a.d.'s challenge, to actually read them, I leave for heartier souls. From his list of accomplishments:
Walter has written for the television series "Family, Powers of Mathew Starr", "Class of '65", "Land of the Lost"* and the "Star Trek" animated show.

This actor-writer has seen publication with the non-fiction "Chekov's Enterprise" and the satiric fantasy novel "Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot". He also created the three issues of the comic book story "Raver" published by Malibu Comics.

*Not to dredge up the whole X-Files topic again, but this is another show I'd rather watch. I never saw Mulder take on anything as bone-chilling as a sleestack.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Casey Martin - Supreme Court upholds earlier Martin ruling

I wrote about this subject on my website (see the archives for end of June 2000) in support of Casey Martin being able to use a cart. I'm glad the Supreme Court ruled as they did. It may be the one thing they got right this year. Unfortunately, they arrived at the right ruling for the wrong reasons; Scalia and Thomas's dissenting opinion has some merit. What's going to happen now is every golfer with a "bad back" is going to want to ride a cart as well, which isn't what this was supposed to be about. I guess that the Court felt it had to deal with the terms of the ADA in order to base their opinion on something concrete ... it really should have been handled by the PGA and never gone to the courts. Seeing how their rules, designed to promote fairness, were falling short, they should have amended the rules to address cases like Martin's and considered how to prevent others from taking advantage of them over a year ago. It irks me how guys like Niklaus, Palmer, and Pate can say with a straight face that 'walking the course is part of the game' when they have a caddy carry their bags. Tell me it's part of the physical challenge when you tote your own clubs. Or, before you complain, consider whether you think it would be an advantage to come down with a debilitating circulatory ailment so you too could ride a cart. I don't think anyone would take that trade.

Saturday, May 26, 2001

Boston Public, it turns out, is a reality series ...

This story of two female student-teachers at a Maryland High School getting it on with with their students makes me even more bitter about my high school years. (Thanks to 3NA for the link and for cracking all the good jokes about the story already. Punks.)

Open Secrets News | Baseball boyfriend?

This story is still making the rounds. Kettman's article makes the case for there being a cultural vacuum into which a prominent male athelete ought to out himself into. (There's a prepositional pretzel for you.) He argues that it's only a matter of time before gays get their Jackie Robinson and that when it happens we're going to see how pervasive homophobia still is. Passages like the following make me think that the day may come soon:
It's an open secret among sports insiders that there have been all-star-caliber gay athletes playing in each of the four major U.S. sports in recent years, including baseball. Lemon's article has inspired coast-to-coast guessing games about which rumored gay major leaguer is his supposed boyfriend. Working on the New Republic piece, I got a tip from a gay friend that a certain East Coast star -- maybe even Lemon's boyfriend, if his story is legit -- was a regular at a gay bar in town. A visit to the gay bar left little doubt that the story was true. The star's picture was on a ledge above the bar. Several people there had stories about the star that passed a beat writer's bullshit tests.
The more this story makes gets ink, the harder it's going to be for players to keep their 'open secrets' secret.

Nobottle No Way

Hobbit Name Generator

... I'm Mungo Overhill of Nobottle. (link via GITM)

The irony of the "Nobottle" part just hit me, only 5 minutes after I first blogged this. I am so fucking hammered.

Friday, May 25, 2001

The Simpsons is dead

No doubt about it. That show is painful and it sucks. No debate there. It was one of the greatest shows ever, but the legacy is tarnished every week it continues.

Sarah Michelle Gellar is no martial artist; her stunt double does OK though. One only wishes Gillian Anderson had an acting double as competent. Duchovny, bless his heart, has slightly more talent than a girl's blouse and will no doubt rock the world in Evolution.

Moodiness is a payoff? I can film a moody television series about my ass. Is that what you want? Murky, underlit scenes of my ass gazing out the window thinking longingly of it's kidnapped sister? A tight close up of my ass sneaking around a dark tunnel looking for the MOTW and the music rising to a crescendo as it (my ass) turns around quickly and ... nothing's there!! I'm drunk at the moment. Blind drunk. And thinking about the X-Files is such a downer, I'm sobering up. I need a Captain and Coke ... stat!

Quick response to Bonedaddy's In Defense of The X-Files post.

Have you been eating paint chips? Are you smoking crack? True, over it's 20+ year run, Dr. Who produced bad episodes on par with the X-Files finale, but judging each series by its best moments, Dr. Who drowns the X-Files in your high/low-brow mix of fun. And when did the action on the X-Files ever look good? I can't think of a single decent action sequence. When the mannequin hanging off the side of the car in the last episode got whacked in the parking garage? When the mannequin Billy Miles got thrown off the roof of the garage? Finest mannequin action sequences ever!!! Oi. Sadly, these were the best action sequences on the X-Files. I've been catching bits and pieces of the old shows in reruns and I'm not seeing a portrait of the times. I'm seeing godawful scripting. "What are you trying to say Mulder?" What do you fucking think, Scully? The same thing he's trying to say in every fucking episode. I'm seeing typical horror movie gimmicks to manufacture suspense and a philosophy of style over substance that's, as Mega pointed out, all tease and no satisfaction. OK, I'm just ranting now. Must settle down. Good acting?!? Sure, from the occasional guest star: Peter Boyle, Charles Nelson Reilly, and I can't think of any others.

Thursday, May 24, 2001

Best Sci-Fi TV Series

All the best sci-fi tv shows are flawed in some way ... some went on too long, some had great episodes but were uneven, some with great potential never got a chance to develop. I don't think there's yet been a consistently great sci-fi show yet and some of the best cross-genres and hard to label "sci-fi". Among the best sci-fi shows, I don't think The X-Files rates better than middle of the pack. So what's better?

  • Doctor Who. Sure, it's a show for kids, but like the best children's shows it gives adults something to watch for too, and I'm not just talking about Leela, Sarah Jane Smith, Tegan, and Peri. It's sense of humor, particularly during the Tom Baker years, made it more than just a sci-fi/adventure series. The X-Files occasionally showed flashes of brilliant humor, but only Duchovny could pull it off and he doesn't have half the range of a Tom Baker as an actor.

  • Star Trek: TNG. On the whole, this series was far too anemic and pasteurized to be called great, but it's static, unimaginative camera work, half-hearted character development, generally poor writing are every bit the equals of The X-Files' unimaginitively filmed "suspense" sequences, half-baked conspiracy plots/story-arcs, and generally poor writing. On the surface, the primary colors and overlit sets of TNG are nothing like the murky greys and blacks and underlit sets of The X-Files, but it all equals out in the end. I can think of more purely enjoyable episodes of TNG than I can of The X-Files.

  • The Prisoner. Is it aliens, or the work of a powerful cabal? This series blows away The X-Files on every level. McGoohan looks like a bit of a pansy in his fight scenes and his run across the beach in the opening sequence, but it wasn't until Connery played Bond that anyone mistook a Brit on tv or film for a real atheletic tough guy. Think Patrick MacNee. (Oop, I almost forgot about The Avengers -- also better than X-Files, Gillian Anderson doesn't hold a candle to Mrs. Peel.) Chris Carter isn't fit to scrape dog doo off Patrick McGoohan's shoes.

  • Nowhere Man. It only lasted one season, virtually unwatched, on UPN, but it was a bit like an Americanized update of The Prisoner and had promise ... it's a shame it was cancelled before anyone noticed it.

  • Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Maybe it's a stretch to call it sci-fi when it might be more about magic, but they put a chip in Spike's head and that sounds sci-fi to me, so here it is. Buffy is the best. This is the closest thing to a week in, week out sure thing great tv show going. It's funny, well-written, and the action is decent. Gellar leaves something to be desired in the acting department, but it's really an ensemble show and nothing else on tv now even comes close.
I'll leave the case for Babylon 5 to those that actually watched it. Farscape did more for me in the five or episodes I saw than the entire run to date of The X-Files.

When Will We See An Openly Gay Male Pro Athlete?

I listen to a lot of sports talk radio. I'm not advocating for sports talk radio; I'm just telling it like it is. The CD player in my car is on the fritz and most radio stations are unlistenable. I like sports so, despite the obvious fact that it's not exactly fun to listen to a half hour of speculation about what the Peter LaViolette (sp?) hiring means for the NY Islanders and the Bruins, I listen to 790 The Score as an alternative to hearing that Limp Bizkit song 10 times a day.

Lately, the big story's been the editor of Out magazine (all relevant links, and then some, at the bottom of this post) writing about the frustration of dating a gay Major League ballplayer. To the credit of most sports fans, the overwhelming majority of guys calling into the shows have taken a laissez-faire attitude towards the issue. There was one guy who called into the Jim Rome show who promised never to watch another game, or to let his son watch one lest it turn him gay, but his call spawned a stream of emails and calls into the show condemning his bigotry. The majority of people seem to think that the issue is a non-issue and don't really care who it is and if he comes out or not, or even if the story is just a publicity stunt. There also seems to be a consensus that it might be in the (putative) player's best interest to remain closeted because he's likely to be ostracized by his teammates and other players if he does come out. Rome is of the opinion pro ballplayers are, on the whole, not well-educated, intolerant, and would probably make his life hell. Not being a pro-athelete, I can only guess what the mentality of the typical pro sports team's locker room might be like, but extrapolating from my memories of the high school lockeroom and considering how that atomsphere might be perpetuated in an athelete's life, it wouldn't surprise me (though it would disappoint me) if Rome turned out to be right.

If the story isn't a publicity stunt and there is a gay ballplayer who would like to come out, does that ballplayer have a responsibility to the gay community to come out? Would gay teenagers struggling with their sexuality appreciate an athelete coming out? Would he be a Jackie Robinson figure for gays? I have to admit that while the true story here is about gays being able to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with equal protection under the law and so on and so on, I'm primarily interested in how the story relates to baseball.

When I think in terms of Jackie Robinson, I think it would be good for baseball to have a star player who happened to be gay. Baseball, notoriously traditional, reactionary, and old-fashioned had one period in its history where it took the lead seeking to correct a societal wrong, and that was when Robinson and Branch Rickey worked together to break the color barrier. Later, in the 70's and 80's a fascinating labor drama, sparked by Curtis Flood, played out in the court battles over free agency and the reserve clause and culminated in the owners response -- the collusion scandal, which nobody remembers because labor history in this country is dismissed out of hand as the provence of left-wing eggheads ... but I digress. Aside from that Jackie Robinson era, it's hard to think of another time when baseball had the moral high ground and was something to be justly proud of. I'd like to see baseball be a leader in that regard again. I'm tired of reading little more than snide articles about A-Rod's salary and John Rocker being the game's most famous exponent of any value system.

Another part of the of this story that fascinates me is the intensity of talk about the speculation over who the gay ballplayer might be. Radio hosts proud of their unbigoted reaction to the story can't resist trying to narrow down who it might be. Lemon, the Out editor who wrote the article, was being interviewed tonight when I was driving home from work (that's the interview that finally prompted this post) and the host, I forget his name, kept asking questions obviously meant to draw out more clues even while professing to be respectful of the player's privacy. Lemon, who says his philosophy is not to out people and professes to respect his ballplayer's privacy, really did make speculation inevitable when he danced around the topic in the first sentence of his article: "For the past year and a half, I have been having an affair with a pro baseball player from a major-league East Coast franchise, not his team’s biggest star but a very recognizable media figure all the same." Immediately, the list of East Coast ballclubs comes to mind: Boston, the New Yorks, Philly, Baltimore, Atlanta (or is that the South, not the East Coast?) ... anyways, you see what I mean, that's only a handful of teams and once you cross out the big stars ... I have to admit I'm curious for curiousity's sake too.

Well, as promised above, here are some links germane to this post:

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Best Foot Forward?

First, the Dalai Lama met with Gov. Jesse Ventura, now he's met with George W. Bush. I can only guess what sort of impression he's formed of America's political leadership based on these meetings.

Walter "Ray" Allen: Decent Human Being

UConn alum and Milwaukee Bucks star Ray Allen lauded for being a decent human being.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Terry Glenn

Like a suckling pig to a sow's teat, Terry Glenn is drawn to the tender embrace of the arms of the law.

Monday, May 14, 2001

Douglas Adams Remembered

Following Douglas Adams links at other blogs mourning his demise, I found Kevin Murphy's Library page at the mighty fine GITM. I'm trying to decide if I'd like to do something similar for TC.

RIP Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams kicks. Don't panic. (link via Why Oh Why?)

Thursday, May 10, 2001

Truth In Advertising WHEN NEWS ISN'T NEWS
In its petition, RMMW argues that by restricting the use of the word "news" in advertisements by local TV stations, the FTC would not be engaging in censorship but in consumer protection.

... Rocky Mountain Media Watch called on the FTC to order Denver stations KCNC, KMGH, KUSA, and KWGN to accurately advertise future programming so as not to mislead the public -- possibly replacing the word "news" with "info-tainment."

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Saturday, May 5, 2001

Cowards Make The Worst Patients

I haven't shared a self-deprecating anecdote in a while, so here's a brief recap of my visit to the local walk-in medical clinic the other day to get my wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night sore throat addressed.

I'm not really good with doctors and medical settings in general. They make me uncomfortable. I don't like needles. Don't like pills. Don't like the idea that the doctor on duty might be a graduate a Haitian medical school who's stethoscope harbors an exotic, flesh-eating disease. But they were cool there. I think the last time I saw a doctor, there was no such thing as a doctor younger than me, but this guy I saw was like Doogie Howser, sneakers and all. It was a little embarassing having to give a throat culture. I seem to have a particularly sensitive gag reflex. It took the nurse five tries to get the swabs past my teeth. As soon as she did, I was gagging like Chewbacca with an Ewok lodged in his trachea. Quite embarrassing. Have you ever tried to give a dog a heartworm pill? That's what it was like. Plus, I got all distracted making sure nobody was trying to sneak up on with me a needle, so I didn't always hear the instructions the doc was giving me: He told me to stick out my tongue and say "ahh" .. so I did. Then he told me to look at his nose (?!) but I thought I saw a nurse with a hypo in my peripheral vision (there actually was a nurse passing in the hall ... it was a baby she was holding though) and I got distracted, so I stuck out my tongue and said "ahh" again as he pointed a flashlight at my closed eyes in a vain attempt, I presume, to check my pupil dilation. When I opened my eyes he furrowed his brow disparagingly at me and repeated the instructions more slowly, as if to a mental defective.

Who Movie Rumor

The Doctor Who News Page at Outpost Gallifrey reports a rumor of a Doctor Who feature to be announced by the film unit of the BBC this summer. Who fans are no doubt jaded by years and years of rumors having yielded nothing save the disappointing Paul McGann/Eric Roberts outing that ran on Fox a few years back and this may turn out to be just more smoke being blown up our collective ass. Still, one can hope.

Friday, May 4, 2001

No Crying

Oakley ran smack on Vince Carter; Lemieux put a burr under Jagr's saddle; now, David "The World's Biggest Goattee" Wells tells Frank Thomas to grow some stones. There is no crying in baseball.

Thursday, May 3, 2001

Easy Pedro

Pedro's temper flares. This is the absolute last thing Red Sox Nation wants to hear.
''Thank God I'm going to go away from baseball soon, sooner than they think, so they can just take their baseball and stick it up whatever they want,'' Martinez said before the Sox' 5-1 loss to the Mariners last night. ''I'm going to go back to my country and be happy.''

More plunk news with international implications.


A hilarious review of Driven. (via 3na)
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