Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sci-Fi Running a Promo for Red Mars during Earthsea

The promo doesn't show much, just the title and shot of Mars. Still nothing on the Sci-Fi website to promote it. That's the first new piece of evidence I've seen about the project in about year though, so any news is good news.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

There Is No Crisis

Paul Krugman: "But since the politics of privatization depend on convincing the public that there is a Social Security crisis, the privatizers have done their best to invent one."

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Who Tease

Doctor Who Teaser at the BBC site [sorry, you'll need Real]

It's just a bit of voiceover -- the Doctor saying "Pleased to meet you, Rose ... now run for your life." -- and a zoom into the UK from space to the Tardis dematerialising.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


I watched a few episodes of Dinner for Five this evening. Good show. Anyways ... I learned that Charles Nelson Reilly was at the Hartford Circus Fire as a kid. He was talking with Charles Durning (who sounds like a fascinating guy) about how he can't watch a performance of anything from the audience. If he tries, the sounds of the crowd call back that memory. Then he sat on Dom DeLuise's lap and they did the "other guy's hands" bit that I remember doing with Dat.

In another episode, Alec Baldwin was far more interesting interesting to watch than I would have guessed. I guess that's what I like about the show, it reveals aspects of these people that you would never guess were there.

At Thanksgiving, a little Dinner For Six at my mom's house, my grandfather was up to his usual tricks. He's trying to sell Tif on making some horseradish for me, it was hilarious. We're all sitting around eating, talking about this and that, and the conversation turns to wine, winemaking, and then (naturally) to horseradish. (I love horseradish.) So he invites us over -- he's got a patch of horseradish ready to be dug up, all we need to do is grab a shovel, get a root, and he can tell us how to prepare it. Now, it's just started raining and I've got no intention of going out in the dark, cold, rainy night to dig up horseradish but he's all fired up now and you know after you dig it up all you've got to do is cut off the ends and peel it, but make sure you're wearing goggles because this horseradish, you really don't want any of it in your eyes. 'Any of it' isn't just a stray shaving or you've touched it and then you rub your eye without thinking (remind me to tell you my dad's story about the habaneros some time), 'any of it' is any of the air within ten feet of the thing. The vapors will drop a draught horse. So you peel it with your goggles on (which I don't have) and you really ought to wear gloves too -- and whatever you do, don't try to peel it inside, peel it outside. And, not to near the house either. I'm really not digging the prospect of the cold, the rain, the shoveling, the goggles, the gloves, the whole ordeal, but I do like horseradish, so I'm borderline tempted to try to sell Tif on the idea, then Ginny throws in the added bonus that this horseradish patch isn't just horseradish, it's laced with this amazingly virulent poison ivy that you don't even have to touch to get the rash from, you just have to be standing near it when the wind blows and any part of your skin that's exposed gets it. Nice. Needless to say, we just took home some leftover turkey, stuffing, turnip, and cheesecake.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Kim Stanley Robinson Watch

The December issue of Wired, guest edited by James Cameron, will have a piece by KSR. Is it to fanboyish of me to speculate that this connection may be the first new hint that Cameron is still in some way planning to develop a film based on one of the novels? Um. Yeah. Drats.

Friday, November 12, 2004

'04 Prediction Check

Here's what I wrote back in January:
1. Dean.

2. Red Sox in 6.

3. 3 UConn players drafted in the first round.

4. The world events equivalent of "US v. Iraq" in 2003 will be "China v. somebody" in 2004.
1. Well, he's still in the news.

2. Close enough ... it was Red Sox in 4.

3. Gordon, Okafor, Taurasi. That was a gimme. I should've predicted the dual National Championships. 2004 turned out to be the greatest year in the history sport.

4. Not really close. Although ... a Chinese sub just showed up off the coast of Okinawa and the Japanese aren't thrilled about it. "US v. Iraq 2004" is the closest world events equivalent to "US v. Iraq 2003". Looks like more of the same for 2005.

An American Dekalogue?

Soderbergh and Clooney are slated to produce a miniseries that sounds quite a bit like Kieslowski's The Dekalogue, ten short films each examining one of the Ten Commandments. If it weren't Soderbergh, I probably wouldn't give it a second thought.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans Day

I was 5 years old on July 4th, 1976. My dad had a pig roast for Fourth that year. It was a special cookout that year not only because of the Bicentennial, but on account of so much of the far flung family would be coming together. My Uncle Jim was a Marine stationed in the UK, he and his family came -- I was excited to see the cousins I'd only met once before. (Matt & P.J. are in the service now, Adam served in the first Gulf War.) My Uncle Don and his family were there too, they all came in from Texas. Don was also a Marine who'd served in Vietnam. (It's only in the last few years I've heard about the trail of busted up bars he left up and down Main St. East Hartford when he got back ... funny stuff now, but it sounds like he's lucky the police were busy enough cleaning up the messes behind him that they didn't catch up to him that night.) My Uncle Robert was there too, he'd spent a long time in the hospital up in Springfield when he got back from Vietnam. I'd only seen pictures of him and don't really remember seeing him that day, he'd gone into the house and the kids were told not to bother him. I knew he'd been injured, but not how bad, nor how long he'd been in the hospital.

What I remember most about that day is playing army with my cousins, watching the fireworks, running around and jumping into somersaults and sprawling out on the ground after the giant booms and how my grandfather had to ask us to stop. The way he asked has stayed with me to this day. I never saw him look like that before, like he might cry. It scared the hell out of me. He told us how Robbie was having a hard time with the sound of the fireworks and now wasn't the right time to pretend to be blown up. Then, all I could think was how sad it was that fireworks (fun!) could make somebody feel so bad that it could make my grandfather look that worried for him.

That's almost thirty years ago (man, I feel old saying that) and even now I get a knot of Angry-Sad-It's-Not-Fair in my throat thinking about those fireworks, my grandfather, and my uncle. Rob has always had "Favorite Distant Uncle" status. He got me my first computer ... a VIC 20 with a tape drive and a modem. I played Shamus and read a Bulletin Board he posted to back then, The Democratic Secular Humanist Egg. He was (and is) the coolest.

My family is full of veterans and active duty ... but it's my Uncle Robert I choose to honor first and foremost.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Stacking the Deck

Companies Sue Union Retirees To Cut Promised Health Benefits []

When a deputy sheriff came to his door with a court summons, George Kneifel, a retiree in Union Mills, Ind., was mystified. His former employer was suing him.

The employer, beverage-can maker Rexam Inc., had agreed in labor contracts to provide retirees with health-care coverage. But now the company was asking a federal judge to rule that it could reduce or eliminate the benefit.

Many companies have already cut back company-paid health-care coverage for retirees from their salaried staffs. But until recently, employers generally were barred from touching unionized retirees' benefits because they are spelled out in labor contracts. Now, some are taking aggressive steps to pare those benefits as well, including going to court.In the past two years, employers have sued union retirees across the country. In the suits, they ask judges to rule that no matter what labor contracts say, they have a right to change the benefits. Some companies also argue that contract references to "lifetime" coverage don't mean the lifetime of the retirees, but the life of the labor contract. Since the contracts expired many years ago, the promises, they say, have expired too.
And yet yet they didn't stop paying when the contracts expired, they suddenly realized 'lifetime' meant until the end of the contract years later. Right.
Employers that want to cut union retirees' health coverage or make retirees pay a larger portion could just impose changes and wait to be sued. But by suing first, they stand a chance of choosing the jurisdiction. This is important, because federal circuits' appellate courts tend to take differing positions in these disputes. Indeed, the unsettled nature of the law on these issues -- with employers' arguments sometimes succeeding and sometimes not -- may be a factor prompting some companies to have a go at gaining the legal right to change benefits.
Choosing the jurisdiction ... hmm ... I wonder how they can tell which judges might be sympathetic to corporations looking to break their contracts with retirees?

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

People Put Stuff on the Internet So You Can See it From Your Computer

But we don't always know why. My buddy Seth's buddy did this thing with a thing. See it.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Cons Fading

Sci-fi fans not getting out as much as they used to now that they can get the autographs and collectibles on e-Bay, reports the Springfield Republican. The stars of SG-1 have overtaken Star Trek lumninaries in popularity. MacGyver surpassing Kirk?! Never.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

We Were Front Row on Tremont!

Tif and I braved the traffic, crowds, and weather to join in the celebration in Boston earlier this morning. We stayed with some friends Friday night in Marblehead, about 15 mins. from the Blue Line Wonderland stop. We were out the door by 6am to make sure we could get a decent spot.

On arrival, it was (as it always is when I go to Beantown) about 45 degrees, windy, and raining. Most of the front row was already staked out when we got there, but we found a little spot on Tremont between Court and School Streets, and hunkered down. Sham and I walked the parade route a bit to scout the scene: it was awesome. Sox fans were lovin' it. We saw a few arrests, for crowd surfing, but on the whole it was crowd just looking to cheer this year's Sox one more time. We didn't see any scuffles, although I've read there were a few over the course of the day.

By the time the rolling rally reached us, the players must've been talked out, only the owners were still at the bullhorns saying Thank Yous to crowd. All the players were waving, some were still shouting thanks without the bullhorns. Pedro looked like he was having a blast. I read that he got hit in the head with a baseball at the end of the route! I hope the guy that threw it is one of those that got pinched for scuffling -- and that he'll take a fat lip to the lock up. And, yes, Nelson was there with him.

Good times.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

First Official Promo Photo for the New Dr. Who


Same ol' Tardis, looks like. Suits me.

We're Not Here to Mess Around

Not really ready to do more than revel in the moment. The Red Sox are World Series champs and I feel like a kid and I just woke up to find out it's Christmas, my birthday, New Year's, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. Red Sox, you know we love you madly, hear the crowd roar ...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Thursday, October 21, 2004

ALCS 2004

I've been quiet about this series since it started. I'll have to run a little smack to make up for all the nonsense I've been hearing from Yankee fans, but not much. I feel too good to rub it in. Winning this series is the greatest comeback by any team in my lifetime and I'm afraid to cheapen it by making (too many) snide remarks to fans of the losers.

This is freakin' incredible. (Why stop to quibble with Francona's [insane] decision to pull Lowe and throw Pedro out there?) No matter what happens now we have the monkey of our back; we took down Jeter and the smug ass Yankees; we've got guys we can be proud of: Ortiz! Damon! Schilling! Lowe! -- Red Sox Nation can finally stop peering through their fingers, grab a pint, and sing a victory song! Check out the streets of Boston now, baby.

Mark had the lyrics to the old-time Tessie over at Cheek today ... I'm pumping the Dropkick Murphys in my car these days and will be driving and singing along:
Tessie, Nuff Said McGreevey shouted

We're not here to mess around

Boston you know we love you madly

Hear the crowd roar to your sound

Don't blame us if we ever doubt you

You know we couldn't live without you

Tessie, you are the only only only

Don't blame us if we ever doubt you

You know we couldn't live without you

Boston, you are the only only only

Don't blame us if we ever doubt you

You know we couldn't live without you

Red Sox, you are the only only only

There are so many links already I don't even know where to start ... Boston Dirt Dogs, ESPN, the games can be downloaded at MLB ...

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Matinee Pick

Had Friday off from work and convinced Mrs. C-Dog to go out to a matinee with me. We saw Friday Night Lights and both enjoyed it enough to recommend. I was worried about seeing a Coach Sling Blade movie; fortunately, Thornton actually did a decent job as the coach, delivering one of (if not) the best Inspiring Half-Time Locker Room Speeches ever. Austin's Explosions in the Sky contributed some outstanding instrumental music to the soundtrack as well. Definitely worth checking out. I'm not sure what the Gold Standard of football movies is? Rudy? The Longest Yard? Remember the Titans? Certainly not Any Given Sunday. In any event, I can't think of one offhand that I'd rank ahead of this one. Here's what The Sports Guy wrote about it (no spoilers).

Thursday, September 9, 2004

The Beat

Caught a bit of VH1's Bands Reunited: The English Beat tonight. Sadly, it didn't include a reunion concert as they couldn't get original bassist David Steele or guitarist Andy Cox (the two that went on to FYC)to come 'round. It's got a few minutes of chatting with the guys that were willing to get together for one last gig: Ranking Roger, Everett Morton (the original drummer) who still plays with Roger, the legendary Saxa, and Dave Wakeling. You can tell none of the other fellas have ever forgiven Wakeling for busting up the group the way he did and it leads to a few awkward moments. The word "greed" gets tossed around quite a bit. They all seem like good guys though, Wakeling the least of them, but at least repentant and not in denial about wha'ppened

I was amazed to learn that Ranking Roger, in addition to still touring, is also a part-time inline skating instructor. I know those guys never made U2 money but ...

In any event, it's cool to see Dave, Roger, Everett, and Saxa react to invitation and to hear them talk about the old days when they were one of the world's best bands. Wakeling and Saxa join the latter day pub band Beat to perform "Mirror in the Bathroom" at the end of the show and I'd have loved to have been in that room. It shows on VH1 again Sunday afternoon at 2pm ET.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

That Would Be Good

Moore Hopes to Get Fahrenheit 9/11 on TV Prior to Election [USA Today]


The 9/11 attacks happened on Bush/Cheney's watch and yet Cheney's got the gall to say if you vote for the other guys this fall, you're inviting another devastating attack? If it weren't so sick, I might've laughed.

Saturday, September 4, 2004

PBS Priced Out of the Market

More on Doctor Who, PBS, and the Sci-Fi Channel. Very few PBS stations show it any longer and the BBC is about to make it harder for them to do so as it closes in on a deal with Sci-Fi. Pluses and minuses here. Boston and RI PBS don't carry it, so Sci-Fi would be increasing the show's presence around here. And really, with the DVDs coming out, it doesn't really matter much to me either way. I can still get my fix. It's still a moneymaker for the PBS stations that carry it, so in that regard it'd be a shame to see move solely to Sci-Fi where it'll probably be on at times when it can't possibly find an audience -- and be full of commercials.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Why Do Republicans Hate Our Troops?

Saw a brief clip on the Evening News last night of a woman at the RNC wearing a band aid on her chin with a little Purple Heart on it. Evidently, this is meant to be a critique of Kerry. Republicans never fail to impress me with the lengths they are willing to go to showcase their hypocrisy. I don't understand how people can be so proud and happy to be such total f***ing tools. I'm trying to imagine the thought process behind putting that band aid on: "Hmmm. My guy took a rich kid's pass on his generation's war and wasn't even able to honorably fulfill the minimal obligations of his service, compounding his depravity by lying about it later. The other guy served honorably, putting his life on the line in a war that he -- like most rational people -- couldn't support. I am so full of hate and vile feelings that I can't bear the thought of the better man winning; therefore, I must somehow disparage his military record and stick my fingers in my ears and loudly praise God if anyone points out my obvious idiocy!"

Over at Altercation, there's a letter today from a Vietnam Vet who shares my revulsion, quoted here because it'll probably be gone tomorrow:
Name: Robert DruryHometown: Dubuque, IA
I write again in extreme anger at the way the Republican campaign has treated Vietnam Vets and now, with the "Cute Purple Heart bandages," all Veterans. For those who have never seen the business end of a rifle or RPG or other weapon of personal destruction it might be cute. But to those of use who have been there on the ground, in helicopters, in swift boats, in Jets over Hanoi, The Purple Heart is the one medal you don't want, but cherish if you get it. It is not cute!!!! Carrying shrapnel in your body for 30 years is not "cute." It is disgusting to see all those people (I'm willing to bet that 99 per cent have not a clue about service to their country) wandering around thinking they are funny, desecrating the sacrifices that any man or woman who has gone to war has made. And worse yet, desecrating the medal that represents the horrible reality of any war and many times the ultimate sacrifice (along with the notification that your son, daughter, husband, wife, mother is dead you also get a Purple Heart "with the thanks of a GRATEFUL nation").

 If it weren't so sick the bandages would be funny. If it weren't so hurtful I might even laugh.

It just shows that the Republicans don't get it.

Their leader clearly doesn't get it. And I'm sick of it!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Shark Week Saves!

[BBC News] Old news -- but we've got some catching up to do.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Off Again

Dark Horizons is reporting that negotiations between the BBC and the estate of Terry Nation have broken down; consequently, no Daleks in the new Who ... until negotiations begin again. Then break down again.

Enough with the Daleks already. The continuity around them is so hopelessly muddled it hardly seems worth the bother anyways. New Doctor, new Tardis (think I read somewhere the blue police box might be gone), new creative team, new baddies,let's make like the McGann and McCoy Doctors never happened and take the show in a new direction, eh?

On a related note, checking to see what Colin Baker's been up to I found (to my complete surprise) that he played a character called "The Stranger" in a series of direct to video releases from an outfit called BBV. Nicola Bryant, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and other Who regulars apparently also took part in what appears to be some sort of alternate universe Doctor Who continuity. The description of the first Stranger video at IMDB doesn't sound very promising and I can only assume the production values must be even lower than the BBC standard, judging by the number of typos one can spot on any given page of the BBV website ... still there's the curiosity factor.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

"Don't reelect that fool."

Sure, we were the choir (for the most part -- I don't imagine the uniformed servicemen in the audience fit neatly into the conservative media's idea of Moore's audience) but the applause from the packed house at Fahrenheit 9/11 this afternoon was still heartening. It's got some of the usual Moore-ism's that tire even those of us who like him in general and it's not hard to see where the conservative media will fire their shots ... still, there's plenty there to satisfy even the jaded lefties.

Even if you haven't seen it, you probably know the list of scenes that reviewers are pointing to as the most effective: Mrs. Lipscomb reading the last letter of her son, Sgt. Michael Pederson, the several minutes W. spent at his photo-op after learning of the attacks, the comparison of his service record obtained prior to its release and the censored version released by the White House, the scenes of American soldiers wondering what they're doing in Iraq, etc. The scene that got the biggest chuckle out of me was the one were Mrs. Lipscomb, walking up to the White House talks with a protester about losing her son, is rudely accosted by a (very typical) smug women who tells her the protester is "staged" and starts sniping at Mrs. Lipscomb, demanding to know where her son died, as if she were a prop as well. Finally realizing she's horribly wrong, the women stomps off, dismissively telling the mother of the dead serviceman: "Well, lots of other people died, too." Republican manners exemplified: shrill denunciation ending with one last spit in the face before ducking away the from the issue to resume wallowing in self-righteousness.

[Update: box office results for this weekend shows Fahrenheit 9/11 number one with $21.8M from just 868 theaters compared to the second place movie's $19.6M from 2726 theaters.]

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Monday, June 14, 2004

Utah Camping Diary, Day 2

Rough start for Tif ... she woke up around 4am with a migraine, the worst she's had since I met her. It was 10am or so before she stopped tossing her cookies and was able to contemplate travel, undoubtedly delighted at the prospect of being jammed into the back seat of a crew cab pickup truck for a 300+ mile drive. She was a trooper though, even when we took a wrong turn on I-70 and ended up out in the desert, adding another 2 hours to our drive by mistake.

We got to Fish Lake not long before dinner time and had time to unload before heading up to the campsite. Our cabin lived up to it's "Rustic" billing. But, it at least had a toilet and running cold water. The walls and windows had strange properties ... wind could whip through them apparently unimpeded, yet they were solid enough to keep in the smell of the gas from the woefully inadequate heater.

At the campsite, we met up with the family and had an enjoyable evening, despite the blustery wind and occasional bouts of snow and hail. That's what a campfire is for, right? We knew the first night that we weren't going to be going out on any boats for fishing, so we would have to enjoy the other aspects of the experience all the more. Luckily, I had the foresight to pack my poker chips.

Fish Lake is beautiful place. It's a long, narrow lake framed by mountains dusted with sage brush, quakies, and pines. The elevation is something like 8700', and I felt it in ol' windbags soon as I tried climbing into the truck to pull out a cooler. I was sucking for air like David Ortiz trying to leg out a triple. We saw lots of deer -- one even knocked Tif's Uncle Kevin off his bike.

We crashed early that night, shivering under our blankets, but invigorated by the mountain air and pleasant company. Plus, we'd been promised a day trip to warmer climes the following day ...

Next: Day 3 --Cathedral Valley.

P.S. We've got tons of photos, we'll have some of the uploaded in the next couple days...

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Utah Camping Diary, Day 1

Tif and I are in Utah this week. We're leaving to go camping at Fish Lake -- about a five hour drive south of Salt Lake City -- bright and early tomorrow. Took a cab to the airport this morning ... the driver was hilarious. Nice enough guy, but not all there. First, there was the debate over the price of stamps he was involved in with his dispatcher and another cabbie. We set them straight on that. Not worried at this point, I mean, stamps are always going up two or three cents at a time. I wouldn't have guessed twenty-five cents, but hey, maybe he pays all his bills online, right? Next, he asked where we were going. Utah, we told him. "U-Haul?" he says, perplexed. No, Utah. "Yoo-hah," he says, "where's that? Nebraska?" Not exactly, Utah: U-T-A-H. "Oh, that's not in Nebraska is it?" No, we're going to the state. "Hunph," he says. I don't think he could imagine why anyone would want to go to Yoo-hah, NE this time of year. On the highway, he points out the sun for us. It's about an hour after sunrise at this point. "Look at that sun," he points, "it's sure orange." Yep, it is. We lose it behind the buildings of downtown Providence and the northbound lane of 95 for a while. He's craning his neck, bolt upright in his seat looking for it. When it's back, he points it out again. Gotcha, Chief. I'm getting a little nervous about how much he's looking at the sun, I mean, directly at the sun in relation to how much time he's spending looking at the freakin' road. I'm about to caution him about the possible eye damage you can get from staring DIRECTLY AT THE GODDAMN SUN FOR MORE THAN 30 SECONDS when he changes subjects. There's a new gas station chain, Valero, that has started advertising in our area and a few of the older run down gas stations have been remodeled to Valeros. He's way up on this. "How about those Vaheebos everywhere?" Vaheebos? "Y'know, the new Vanteebos ... V-A-L-E-E-R-I-O," thanks for spelling it, I'm regretting now that we clarified Utah for him. "The old lady likes the Vroom Vrooms in the commercials." I'm sure she does. The whole drive he was on one topic after another, making little to no sense on any of them. Spelling stuff randomly at irregular intervals. When we got to the airport, he thought he saw a plane with a new company name on it. I dunno, maybe he did, but I just wanted him to stop trying to crane his neck and jump up in his seat to to try and get another look at it over the Jersey Barriers. "You see that? What was that? A-T-W... something?"

Next update when we get back...

Friday, June 4, 2004

10 Minutes to Expert

The Copenhagen Consensus

Don't get caught flat-footed when you're roped into a one of those 'let's sit around and talk about the problems of the world' discussions. Economists have been huddled in Copehhagen doing cost-benefit analyses on programs wealthy countries can pursue to help developing countries ameliorate such challenges as Disease, Malnutrition, Sanitation and Water, etc. The Economist has has been following and supporting the Copenhagen Consensus project and I think I can break this thing down for you so you can pass as an expert on it in 10 minutes or less.

Here's your background article: "Putting the world to rights: What would be the best ways to spend additional resources on helping developing countries? Some answers."

All you need to know to be conversant is that the thing is going on, it's the brainchild of a controversial Dane name of Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, the expert panel assembled to review submissions included 3 Nobel prize winners, and the Economist recommends a focus on the consensus top bang-for-your-buck programs. They are: Control of HIV/AIDS, Providing Micro-Nutrients, Trade Liberalisation, and Control of Malaria.

Given the recent release of The Day After Tomorrow and Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain, to be topical I think you need to highlight your understanding of the reasons why Global Warming/Climate Issues were rated so low by the panel: "the issue is real ... but not so urgent that such massive abatement costs need to be incurred right now," those costs being associated with carbon taxes and the Kyoto Protocol.

Me, I'd throw in that it should come as no surprise The Economist is in love with anything or anyone that promotes Trade Liberalisation and governments reducing the tax burden on any business anywhere (see the background article for more on this), and therefore we might be wise to take their support cum grano salis. That Lomborg's basic premises have been roundly debunked and many feel, with good reason, he is simply trying to discredit and divide the environmentalist movement is another reason to step back and view the results, and the Economist's approval, with a healthy dose of skepticism.

There you have it, you may not be an expert on solving the world's problems, but you know where the 'real experts' stand!

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Hapless, Irritating Klingon Accused of DUI

[Yahoo! News - slightly edited]

BOULDER, Colo. - Alexander, Son of Worf, the youngest member of the House of Mogh of the Klingon Empire, was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving.

Alexander, Son of Worf, 22, was arrested early Friday by police who said they saw someone vomit out the passenger side window of his car. Asked how much he had to drink, Alexander, Son of Worf, responded, "Plenty," then failed a roadside test.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Powers of 10

Zoom In

Those Wacky Bushes!

Village Voice piece on conspiracies, the Bushes (Prescott through Shrub), Illuminati, Freemasons, Skull & Bones, etc...

Tangentially, I dig the author's name: Gary Indiana. Called to mind bored days in eighth grade spent filling those little blue exam books with The Adventures of Gary Indiana and Mark Jones -- serialized fiction at it's most unclever, written when I should've been studying my algebra so I wouldn't ultimately grind to a mathematical halt at algebra II in high school.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Is Star Trek: Enterprise the Final Nail?


Next year could be the first without a new Trek series on the air since I got out of high school. I blame, in no particular order: Scott Bakula (terrible actor), the theme song of Enterprise (it must drive away viewers by thousands), UPN (might as well put the show on QVC in the middle of the night), the entire cast of Voyager (for being thoroughly bland and unlikeable and for teaching us geeks that just because a new Star Trek is on that doesn't mean we can't be doing something else), and Alexander (forget Wesley Crusher, Worf's son was the definitive episode killer). I've only seen a few episodes of Enterprise but have been impressed by the production quality. I just can't stay with it because Bakula is a drag, because I always change the channel when Power Balladeer Theme Song Singer Guy commences to kicking me in the nuts with his "faith of the heart" styling so I end up watching a Law and Order repeat instead. Last night's episode looked great, but I felt like the story was too all over the place with transdimensional beings and the giant spheres and Archer having been 400 years in the future and all this stuff is a little jarring because it just doesn't seem to fit in the continuity. Where were all these species during the TNG/DS9 years?

Jack of Smarts

Why the Internet Generation loves to play poker. [Washington Monthly]

The tone is friendly but 'pasty-faced video game nerds want to feel like men' is the call.

Three Cheers for Monkey Boy!

"Monkey Boy is considered one of the premier minor league entertainment acts in North America, and the popularity of Monkey Boy is continually growing as he brings a comical and energetic performance which creates lasting memories for his fans.

Monkey Boy is the Ape of Antics, the Champ of the Chimps, the Gorilla of Gags, the Lemur of Laughs, the Obnoxious Orangutan, the Primate of Pranks, the Baboon of Buffoonery, the Monkey of Mischief!" (Thanks to Fut for the link.)

Monday, May 10, 2004

Death of a Master

Anthony Ainsley, the Roger Moore of Masters, has passed away under something of a veil of secrecy. Ainsley evinced a willingness to chew scenery that endeared him to many a Who fan, myself included. Never saw him in anything else and am a little sad he'll not be a part of the new series.

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Sweet Victory

Poker night finally went my way. I did well out of the gate and fell on hard times: my modus operandi. Got to the point I was forced to go all-in by the big blind when it was at 40 (I had 35 of the 1600+ chips that were in play at that point), but that's where I caught my first River card and started a steady climb. I feel (a little) guilty about catching cards on the River and doubling up twice at my brother's expense; but, I've been screwed out of pots that should've been mine enough times that I deserved to finally be on the delivering end of a bad beat.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Now That I've Started Tracking It, I Just Can't Stop

Looks like some of the lost Who episodes of the Hartnell and Troughton years will see their surviving fragments collected into multi-disc set. Pertwee, Tom Baker, and Peter Davison are my Whos of choice, but I've been checking out the older eps and will probably continue picking up the "off-Who" stories to satisfy my obsessive completist bent. (Kind of like how I keep getting the new Fall cd though even though I only ever listen to the ones up through "Shift Work".) I actually do like Troughton (Eccleston cites Patrick as an influence and calls his Who "compelling and a little bit frightening") but find his era a little hard to watch: hard to maintain suspension of disbelief when a show's writers have a character who is supposed to be a scientific genius launch into clunky (and head-scratchingly wrong) exposition about magnetism.

HD may or not be glad to know, if he doesn't already, that the skull busting"Curse of Fenric" from the McCoy era, the one that left us stunned and disoriented when we first watched it, will be out June 1st.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

More Who Rumor Mongering

This article has some companion speculation: three actresses I've never heard of and no mention of the popster that seemed to be a frontrunner earlier. Helen Mirren is mentioned as possibly making an appearance. Moreover, it seems everything I've been reading about the Daleks being locked up by Terry Nation's people seems to be thrown out the window ...

On a related note, I watched Davies and Eccleston's last project together, "The Second Coming" and it totally got me jazzed up all over again for this new series. If you're on Netflix or your local video store carries it, I highly recommend checking it out. It was brilliant: the kind of show that just couldn't be on TV here. Eccleston was great and Davies matches the best TV writing chops of Whedon or Sorkin. Not to say it's perfect, I had a little trouble with seeing how one of the key characters acted based on the information available to her -- but considering the subject matter and scope of the story, I felt like the whole of it came off far better than could reasonably have been expected. Based on what I've seen now of Davies's work, I have the expectation that this new Who could be as good as any sci-fi series we've ever had -- with appeal well beyond the subscribers list of Doctor Who Magazine.

Monday, April 5, 2004

W to the H to the O, Yo ...

P. Diddy, Dre, and Jay-Z are Who fans angling to cameo in the new series?! Cool, but please, please don't hip-hopify the theme music.

Friday, April 2, 2004

Dennis Miller Is A Hot Mess

Air America Radio

I'm sure most people won't download Real for this but I had it already for the CPTV webcast of UConn Women's basketball; so, I listened to the Janeane Garofalo show a while and I'm sold. I haven't heard Franken's show yet and unless they add a Windows Media stream, I won't be able to get it at work either.

Channel surfing last night, I caught of few minutes of Dennis Miller's new show. He was pimping William F. Buckley's upcoming appearance. Miller's got the tinge of desperation, like someone on the verge of either bursting into tears or flying into a rage but utterly lacking the self-awareness to be able to mask the signals. I don't imagine anyone's actually watching him and it's probably eating away at his self-image.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

More Who Casting News

Billie Piper appears to be front-running the companion crowd. Looks like a generic popster turned actress. Some will say she's hot but she's no Nicola Bryant far as I can tell.

Saturday, March 20, 2004


The New Doctor Who Has Been Cast

And it's Christopher Eccleston. Who? Remember Shallow Grave? He was in that. Played the guy that ended up spying on the others from the attic. Looks like good casting to me.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Hypno-Toad caught on tape

Donald "I Cannot Tell A, maybe I can" Rumsfeld practising his craft. Courtesy and Tom Tomorrow (link obtained from "This Modern World") (Best if watched on a high-speed connection--I'm on dial-up and it took ages to load up)

What Would Mel Gibson Do?

Violence breaks out in Kosovo yet again...over a supposed drowning incident involving some Albanian and Serbian turned out that it seemed to be an accident, and not a malicious act, but hey, what more do you need to fire up another war with people who don't share your faith?

Some guy tried to crucify himself in an act of suicide, but ran into problems when trying to nail his other hand to his makeshift cross--and dailed 911 with his free hand. Just remember kids, when performing a crucifixion, it's important to have a buddy to help out. (link obtained via Cheek, cheers to M.A.D. for that.)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

The Arc of Mars

More Mars

Kim Stanley Robinson traces the arc of Mars through the terrestial imagination in a new essay for the NYT. Meanwhile, Robert Rodriguez prepares to go all Once Upon A Time On Mars on Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

From 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 250?!

Is it better screening, a revised definition, or a alarming increase in autism rates? This article discusses autism research but seems curiously indifferent to the numbers it cites? If the answer to my first question is the alarming increase, I'd hope researchers are looking at what's different about our water, air, and the food we eat. When people say they don't give a crap about BGH, allowable mercury levels, regulating polluters, all that tree-hugging environmental stuff it's so easy to dismiss, this is the stuff I hope they consider could be a result of starving government regulatory agencies of the funds needed to fulfill their mandates and weakening the regulations themselves.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Offshoring -- It's All the Rage! is brilliant. The company I work for recently posted jobs on their intranet that involved looking at workflows to determine how to move functions to India. Losing your job to cheap labor overseas isn't just for blue-collar workers anymore.

Related: is somewhat more dispassionate and happy to accept ads from the likes of "IT Offshore Outsourcing: Software, Testing [gulp! -ed.] & Data Procesing [sic] From China at Low-cost/High-quality"

Also see:

Dial M for Monkey

Great name for an album by an equally well named band. bonobo:releases Anytime reviewers praise an album as sounding "cinematic," I immediately think, "uh-oh, boring background music." Still ... so well named.

Friday, February 27, 2004

2 obsolete : SUFFERING

The Passion of the Christ is sort of a strange cultural event movie. I'm far more interested in reading about it, and about people's reactions to it, than I am in actually seeing it. I have no intention of seeing it at all, frankly. Much of what's been written about the film has addressed concerns about the depiction of the Jews; while I recognize there are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about how a major motion picture addresses the issue at the root of at least one strain of anti-semitism, I feel like the questions and answers here don't involve much heavy lifting: if the movie depicts Jews as depraved, hook-nosed sub-human cariacatures, it's not hard to see what the problem is; if not, then there won't be much to get worked up over. What's more interesting to me is Gibson's motivation, whether it will be interpreted as intended, and what reaction it will provoke among Catholics ("It is as it was ... er, or not."), Fundamentalists, etc...

By virtually all accounts, the movie is as gorey and violent as any Tarantino film. Most critics express the concern that the emphasis on the violence and suffering is meant to make the viewer hate Christ's tormentors (the Jews, to lesser extent the Romans). I wonder if the intent of showing the suffering so graphically was instead meant to cultivate a feeling a compassion in the audience ... I haven't seen this offered as a possibility and would hope that's what Gibson intended, compassion obviously being a Christian message, hate not so much. What little I've heard of Gibson's faith (ultra-conservative Catholic, brought up that way by this father, rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican council) isn't encouraging.

There's really only one passage from the bible that ever resonated with me, it's the one you see over the lintel when you an exit a church (at least at South Church in Hartford, where my family took me as a kid): Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God. (Micah 6:8) If I were to make a movie, it's probably well known that it would be a martial arts move with giant monkey-controlled robots and a Yo La Tengo soundtrack, not a movie about Christ. However, if I were hired to make a movie about Christ and was forbidden to have him use martial arts, or romp through the jungle with gorrillas, or even if I were allowed to be true to my vision -- I would definitely ask myself about every scene and every line of dialogue, "does it meet the Micah 6:8 litmus test?" What I've heard of Gibson's motives, it sounds like his aim was accuracy, a true depiction of those last 12 hours. Hence, the Aramaic and Latin with subtitles, hence another white Jesus (?); but, that's all got to be a smokescreen, right? Because what any project that's going to try to present the events of the bible as historical fact is really just selectively someone grabbing the bits they want and making it suit their interpretation of the stories.

It's the whole pretense of "it is as it was" that's put me off the thing. I don't buy for a second that a film made in 2003 about events that happened nearly two thousand years ago, based on accounts written hundreds (?) of years later from an oral tradition can make any claim to accuracy. I also feel that the a movie about Christ that represents itself as "true" can only be valuable if it advances the best (according to me) aspects of the Christian message (love, compassion, mercy, justice); even if Gibson's intent is to cultivate compassionate feelings for the suffering of Christ, I don't feel that anyone who's lived long enough lose friends and family gets any new insight into compassion from watching someone get tortured. I don't see how it can be any of use to me, therefore no desire to see it.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Dark Tower

Having played this game with HD, I knew I had to link immediately.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Kato Casting?

Kevin Smith working on a Green Hornet movie.

On a side note, I wonder if it gets Neilalien's goat when a third string superhero gets greenlighted ahead of Doctor Strange? It must sting a little. Wouldn't make him break out in hives, would it? I mean, what's Brit Hume got over Stephen Strange in terms of appeal? They're both a couple of WASPs, right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Another AM Radio Anomalous Reception

A while back I related the fascinating tale of how I get fragments of a country station from Canada when I lose my local station as I drive past the church (I think the position of the spire and the power lines interfere with my station) on Rt 7. This morning, when I pulled into my usual parking spot (middle level of a parking garage, so I'm effectively sandwiched between huge slabs of concrete) I lost my local sports radio and started getting news and traffic from Richmond, VA. Richmond is approximately 450 miles from Providence.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Have Movie Rights, Will Produce

Yet another Heinlein adaptation the way to the silver screen, one of the 'juveniles' this time: Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. Possibly as a Pixar animation?

My first choice, off the top of my head, for one of the juvies would've been Tunnel in the Sky. Have Spacesuit I don't remember too well. Even reading some reviews didn't do much to help bring it back.


This guy I work with, his stepmom - after divorcing his father - moved in with the lead singer of Toto. I told him to ask her if the guy sings "Africa" when he's in the shower. I bet he does. I bet being in the shower makes him think of the rains, you know, down there. Otherwise he'd probably sing "Rosanna," right? I'll let you know what I find out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Tom Baker Interview

BBC - Cult - Doctor Who Features - Tom Baker It's not so much that the interview's funny -- which it is, esp. the bit about being mistaken for Jon Pertwee at a train station -- it's more the astonishing fact that the Fourth Doctor is now a dead ringer for my dad.

You Don't Like That One, We Got Another!

Lots of articles showing up online now discussing the Administration's war motive shell game. The headlines usually refer to "recasting" motives. I guess "lying about" was too blunt. The humanitarian excuse doesn't fly: first, it's not the original reason we were given -- if it was the reason, it should have been discussed up front; second, Iraq didn't meet the criteria for humanitarian intervention. HRW explains.

The Irony Curtain

Hey, Yank, do you get irony? Your mate in the UK may not think so. (Title of this post nicked from the follow up comments to the article.)

KSR Interview

Kim Stanley Robinson answers questions about his upcoming Forty Signs of Rain. He's been showing up more often in my periodic google news searches, mostly due to the pictures coming back from Mars and a rekindling of discussion about his Mars trilogy. Stan was recently interviewed on NPR. Still no details on the miniseries rumored to be in production.

Only Because ...

He's going have a chimp on his show do I bother to mention anything about Dennis Miller's GOP Knobshine Hour coming soon to one of those right wing cable networks. Only because of the chimp do I pull this quote:

"So I've hired a monkey," Miller says with some measure of pride, "and he's going to wear color-coded T-shirts to sync up with the terror-alert level."

The shocking thing about their research is that Garroway's original chimpanzee, J. Fred Muggs, was still around. "He lives out here in the Valley," Miller says.

But since he's in some kind of chimp retirement, they're using another one, Miller says. "We can't use the name J. Fred Muggs. But we've got our own chimp.

"He's young; he's a comer," Miller boasts, adding that the animal is "still not too jaded to throw his fecal matter at you, like the original."
I've acknowledged the chimp; now I can wash my hands of this messy business. [Hartford Courant, reg. req'd.]

Monday, January 26, 2004

Friday, January 23, 2004

Why Does CBS Hate American Values?

That tame little spot that won the contest ... CBS says it's too controversial and won't let the citizen's group pay to have it shown during the Super Bowl. I'm stunned. The message that maybe it's not such a good idea to spend recklessly and run up a huge debt is controversial? Too controversial to expose the Super Bowl audience to? [Petition CBS not to censor's ad.]

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Rotten TV

I Used to Be A Sex Pistol ... Get Me Out of Here! Among the "C-List" celebs roughing it for reality TV you'll find, get ready for it, John Lydon. Rotten may have been among the group of celebs who threatened to boycott after learning he was getting paid less than topless model Jordan.

Gung Hay Fat Choy, 4702!

Don't normally make a fuss over Chinese New Year but this year is special.

Year of the Monkey!

The last Year of the Monkey marked the end of a dark cycle in American politics and the beginning an eight year period of relative peace and prosperity. Here's hoping for more of the same.

The Gold Coast?

Speculation has begun on what James Cameron's next big sci-fi movie will be. [AICN]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Looks like Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (IMO, one of his best) may be the next to hit the big screen. [Sci Fi Wire] I wouldn't exactly call Verhoeven's Startship Troopers or that Donald Sutherland Puppet Masters (which, tangentially, also starred Richard Belzer who, I just discovered, was born in Bridgeport, CT -- as were Brian Dennehy, Robert Mitchum, ex-SNLer Kevin Nealon, and John "Cliff from Cheers" Ratzenberger according to IMDB) not a strong track record of Heinlein adaptions but still, one can hope for the best.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Tasmanian Park?

Audubon: Raising the Dead. Via the excellent Danger Blog!
136 years after its death and 66 years after its species was declared extinct, the preserved baby sits at the junction of molecular biology, conservation ethics, and endangered-species politics--and also at the locus of humanity's guilt and hopes in dealing with the natural world.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


After all the controversy, the winner is a pretty tame deficit call out: Bush in 30 Seconds Winning Entry. I'd like to think it's also a subtle reminder that the GOP's agenda is roll back all the progress made in 20th century, bankrupt the federal government of the ability to protect the people from rapacious corporate greed, and destroy the public school system so the kids whose parents can't afford the difference between their voucher and the cost of private school have to send them to work in the convenient absence of those namby-pamby child labor laws.

How You Livin'?

Church and state too distinct and separate for you where you're livin'? Check out Florida, brother. Not separate enough? Don't worry, I mean, what possible harm could Jeb Bush and the Florida Churchstate do to the rest of the country? (The comments in the linked post are a nice read as well. Particularly the one that points out: "Article VI of the Constitution, ' ... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.'")

Monday, January 12, 2004

Wingnuts to Arms!

Those dangerous leftists at the Army War College have joined radical fringe group The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in issuing a report that challenges the infallibility of our Dear Leader and his Glorious War on Terror!

Friday, January 9, 2004

Vijay the Bonobo

Baby bonobo, named Vijay, born in Cincinnati. If he lives a full bonobo lifespan, he'll probably be alive when his species disappears completely from the wild. It won't mean much to him, nor will the fact the chimpanzees will also be gone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004


If Jim Ed had made it, I would be planning a trip to Cooperstown for the end of July. Eckersley and Molitor are the only two to make it in this year. Molitor was a gimme. Frankly, I'm a little surprised Eck made it on the first ballot.

Monday, January 5, 2004

Funnier With the Guitar Riff

Reuters | Davies Shot in New Orleans: He is quoted as having yelled to the shooter, "Oh yeah, you really got me now!" Or not.

Unsettling Experience

Right now, I've got the hiccups and a cough, so each time I cough, I hiccup simultaneously. It's really got my organs in a twist. And, I feel like I might sneeze at any moment. Arrrrrgh!

Friday, January 2, 2004


First, Happy New Year!

Second, a few quick lists:

C-Dog's Fave 2003 Movies

1. Love, Actually. I can't think of a movie I saw last year that wasn't flawed in at least one significant way. Of them all, this is the one I'd most like to see again, despite those flaws.

2. Return of the King. Great movie, grand spectacle, lots of fun. Some pretty significant flaws. Not number one because what I'm actually looking forward to is not seeing this movie again but it's Extended Edition when it comes out on DVD.

3. Finding Nemo. Given the choice between seeing this or Mystic River again, I'd choose this one.

Letdowns: The Hulk, X2, Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolutions.

Still want to see: Lost in Translation, Die Another Day, Bend it Like Beckham, LXG, Identity.

Fave Bands in 2003

1. Yo La Tengo. Only saw a few bands live last year and they were the best. Summer Sun is one of my favorite albums of last year.

2. The Postal Service / Death Cab for Cutie. Yeah, they're all the rage.

3. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Hearts of Oak spent as much time as any in the car player, where I do most of my listening.

4. Dropkick Murphys. One of my favorite moments of the year, among the many that took place that night, was when the Murphys' "Forever" closed the dance floor at my wedding. Good times.

5. Rancid. It's the kind of music I'm hard-wired for.

Letdowns: The Slackers, Looper.

Still want to pick up: Joe Strummer, The Midnight Evils.

Third, I put on the swami hat and make some predictions for 2004.

1. Dean.
2. Red Sox in 6.
3. 3 UConn players drafted in the first round.
4. The world events equivalent of "US v. Iraq" in 2003 will be "China v. somebody" in 2004.

Fourth, I assert, after a New Year's morning viewing, that "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is one of the top five all time Doctor Who stories. The success of the new Doctor Who series will be directly correlated to how well it recaptures the groove of the 1974-1977 Hinchcliffe era.
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