Thursday, March 26, 2009
Cue the sad violin. I know that as we grow older we inevitably attend more funerals than weddings, but A)I am not that old yet, and B)WTF?! Since January of last year my ex-girlfriend, Heather, died. Bennett Strange, my former boss from Louisiana College and curmudgeon with a heart of gold died. My mother died. Frank Leahy, who was one of the greatest acting teachers ever, and one of the founding fathers of the drama department at Palm Beach Community College, died. And now my grandmother has died. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I will grant that Bennett, Frank, and my grandmother were all of an age where death is not that unexpected, but still that's a lot of shuffling off the mortal coil for one person to handle. Yes, I'm being a bit selfish here, I realize that, but I'm about to explode with the sheer numbers of people I am currently in mourning over. I thought we agreed that there would be no more deaths in the family this year.
Ah well, railing against the universe accomplishes exactly nothing, so I'll stop. I fly up to Connecticut on Saturday, and at least I'll get to see family I haven't seen in years...I just wish the circumstances could be better.
I'll try to post happier thoughts soon...I hope.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I know I've said this before, but there should be some sort of test to see if certain people are smart enough to breed. I finally got a chance to see The Watchmen yesterday. And I really liked it. Last month Duke paid me a visit and loaned me his copy of the graphic novel, and I loved it. For those of you who don't know, Watchmen takes place in an alternate time-line where superheroes, or 'costumed adventurers' became a fad in the 40s and 50s, but none of them had any real powers. Eventually vigilantism is outlawed after a real superman is accidentally created in a lab accident. Dr. Manhattan, as his is branded, is called upon to stop the Viet Nam war, thus winning it for the US, and keeping Dick Nixon in office for three terms. That is the foundation of this very interesting story that starts with the murder of one of the heroes, and the subsequent investigation. The story doesn't focus so much on the action as it does on the twisted psychology of people who would dress in strange costumes to fight crime. It is a gritty, violent, sexy, and very gripping story with a rather unconventional and unexpected ending. The one thing it is not, however, is a children's tale. Which brings me to the movie...and parental moronity.
The Watchmen movie is a brilliant translation of the comic to the big screen. I cannot think of a more faithful adaptation. The casting is brilliant; the performances excellent; the effects well suited, and the few changes made actually help the story flow more smoothly. That being said the film pulls no punches. There is rather graphic violence and sex and language that has earned the film a very proper R rating. So, of course, the theatre was filled with four and five year old children. Not to mention the screaming infant three rows behind me. Selfish parents who refuse to sacrifice their own enjoyment for the sake of their children's well-being really piss me off, and make me wish the R rating were more strict, since it has become painfully obvious that parental guidance is woefully lacking in many cases these days. The most generous assessment I have of these idiots is that they just assume that since the film was based on a comic book that it must be a kids' movie, but even that level of fail doesn't stand up to the film's R rating.
Now for the reason for the title of this post. Dr. Manhattan, as played(sort of) by Billy Crudup, is the only superhuman in the story, and he spends most of the book, and movie, naked. And to the artists from both medias credit, they don't worry about tastefully placed potted plants or anything like that. Dr. Manhattan's big, blue willy makes many appearances. His is not the only nudity in the movie, for both Malin Ackerman and Patrick Wilson have some pretty graphic sex scenes, but the only whining I've heard on the Intertubes has been about the dreaded blue penis. Oddly enough, only men have lodged this particular observation. I still don't get the fact that female nudity has become almost common place in films, but one glimpse of the male member and people lose their minds. I'll grant you that it's a rather silly looking piece of equipment, but hardly more off-putting than any of the ladie's accoutrement. It just goes to show that no matter how advanced we think we are as a people, sometimes we are little better than Medieval monks bumbling through life trying to pretend that human beings don't do anything that couldn't be aired on Sesame Street.
In other news, the Battlestar Galactica series finale aired on Friday, and we loved it! If you haven't seen Galactica, I highly recommend you start from the beginning. It is one of the best shows on television, IMHO, and the ending capped the series beautifully. Sure I had a few quibbles, but they were minor and didn't affect the overall quality of the finale. It was a thoroughly well done show that ended when it should, and on its own terms.
So say we all. ;-)
Peace out, y'all.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
I just read a news story about a convicted sex offender who attempted to rape, then beat and stabbed a thirteen year old girl to death. He was wearing a GPS tracking device as part of his probation for the crime of luring minors with sexual intent. The device allowed police to find him easily enough after the murder, but did nothing to prevent it. I fail to see what good keeping tabs on the whereabouts of a sexual predator does when all that entails is someone checking the data and going, "Yup, he's still in that vacant field." And what really chaps my ass is that while thousands of supposed criminals are taking up space in jails for marijuana offenses, really dangerous wastes of humanity such as this scumbag are given probation and a bracelet most likely because there isn't enough room to put them away. Sometimes I just don't understand the bass-ackward way the American judicial system thinks. Actually, I do understand it, and it makes my brain squirm. It seems to me that the majority of punitive actions involving drugs are done as much, if not more so, for PR purposes than for actual law enforcement. For some reason, Joe the Plumber and his ilk seem to think that smoking weed is tantamount to biting the heads off puppies. The so-called 'war on drugs' is one of the most wasteful, pointless, and dangerous PR scams ever perpetrated on the American public. Yes, some of the illegal drugs are rightfully outlawed. PCP, ecstasy, crack, heroin, and I guess even cocaine are very harmful, but then again so is alcohol and nicotine. In a country where the choice to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle is more and more up to the rider, where is the justification for clogging up our judicial and penal system with drug users? Most of the crime associated with the drug trade would vanish if the stuff wasn't illegal, and then the police forces would be free to pursue real criminals, like murderous pedophiles.
In my opinion, of course.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Hi, Folks. Over in England they have an annual fund raising event called Red Nose Day that raises money for Comic Relief, and this year Simply Syndicated is doing a 24 hour podcasting marathon to help the effort. Starbase 66 is honored to be a part of that, and at 10am EST Saturday we go live here. You don't need to donate to listen, but if you have Skype you can call in and talk to us in real time. And if you can donate a bit that would be lovely too. :-) And if you just want to donate to the cause, you can go here.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Yesterday President Obama fulfilled one of, in my opinion, his most important campaign promises. He signed an executive order unlocking federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. If you don't know what this is, embryonic stem cells are Primitive (undifferentiated) cells from the embryo that have the potential to become a wide variety of specialized cell types. They are taken from a blastocyst, which is one of the very earliest stages of embryonic development when the embryo is little more than a ball of a few dozen cells, and have the potential to be instrumental in curing or repairing a wide range of diseases and injuries. The fact that they are derived from human embryos was a touchstone for the radical right, and George W. Bush, bowing to pressure from religious conservatives, banned any federal funding for stem cell research. I always find it odd that they will go to great lengths to protect a ball of cells, yet have no trouble killing thousands of people overseas. But I digress, the bottom line is that Barak Obama has repealed Bush's narrow-minded pandering and is allowing science to do what it does. And, as an added bonus, he made the following statement:
...Today, I am also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making. To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions. That is how we will harness the power of science to achieve our goals – to preserve our environment and protect our national security; to create the jobs of the future, and live longer, healthier lives.
This is one of the many reasons why I voted for President Obama, and so far he has not disappointed.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Episode 10 of Starbase 66 is on line! Is off screen douchbaggery a hindrance to our enjoyment of certain stars? And in the newest Admiral's Table I sit down with Duke who works with cutting edge medical equipment to talk about how close we really are to Dr. McCoy's sickbay.
This has been one weird week. Sunday was fab. Had a nice, relaxing day, then recorded a fun podcast that night. Then the week kicked in. Monday was, well, Monday, and when I lay down at 7:30 to take a power nap, in preparation for our usual 8:30 City of Heroes night, I didn't wake up until midnight. Tuesday my wife didn't quite get her alarm turned off and I was awakened at 2:15 and never really got back to sleep. Wednesday I had to take her in to work at 3am, so by 7:30pm I was too tired to do anything, and was in bed by 8.
Thursday, however, was great. I still had to get up at 0-dark-30 to take the missus in to work, but I then picked her up at noon to go see Spamalot! For Valentine's Day I wanted to get her tickets to see the touring production of the Monty Python musical, and was prepared to bite the bullet and drop nearly $100 on the evening, when what to my wondering mouse clicks did appear but a very rare $20 Thursday matinee!! So I picked up my lady from work, and we went into Tampa to see a show. Parking was easy...too easy I later discovered, and we had an hour to get some lunch. We found a pleasant little corner pizza place and got a couple of slices, then wended our way back to the performing arts center. Our seats were in the front row of the balcony, which turned out to be very good seats. I occupied myself with checking out all the lighting equipment that was right in front of us, and then the show started. Some of you will recall that I had the great good fortune to see the original cast in NYC a few years back, so this was a trip down memory lane for me. This show was lots of fun, and I grinned like an idiot through most of it. It was, however, a shadow of the original. The cast was doing a great job, but how can anyone compete with Hank Azaria, David Hyde-Pierce, and Sara Ramirez? I will say this, though. I have been quoted as saying that Tim Curry was the weak link in the NY cast, and while I think that Richard Chamberlain, who plays Arthur in this tour, did a superior job, I was still dissatisfied. And I think I know why. I used to have Monty Python and the Holy Grail recorded on a cassette tape that I would listen to on long drives, and so every syllable of the movie is etched into my brain. It would seem that no one yet can compete with Graham Chapman's performance of Arthur in my mind. The rest I can get around, but Chapman was just so...so...gahh! I can't think of the appropriate term, but he just was Arthur. It's hard to describe. In any case the character is the straight man in the show and movie(which is ironic if you know anything about both Chamberlain and Chapman) so it doesn't ruin any of the jokes. So if the show comes to your town, and you can spare the sheckles, give it a watch. You won't be disappointed. Oh, and as for the parking, the garages in Tampa are using a pay system where you pay at a machine before you get in your car, then put swipe your ticket at the gate to get out. It does just the opposite of streamlining the process, and it took nearly 45 minutes to get out of there after the show, but it was still worth it.
Friday went well, and I actually finally got my interview with Duke(no, I didn't forget to post it, dude) edited. Depending on how long the next episode of Starbase 66 runs after I edit it I'll either put in the main show, or post it as a stand-alone later next week. I'm also one step closer to my interview with Dr. Laurence Krauss as he emailed me about when we'll do it.
And so that's what's up with me. How're you?
Love and kisses,
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
So just before I turn in, I got to pondering a couple of linguistic conundra:
1. Is 'politics' singular or plural?
2. If one uses the initials for a thing, such as ATM or LCD, and one is referring to only one of said initialized thingy, does the choice of 'a' or 'an' depend on the consonant or vowel in the initialization, i.e. 'an ATM', or on the actual first word, i.e. 'a LCD' since the first word is really 'Liquid'?
Ok, now you won't be able to sleep either. You're welcome.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Ok, yesterday's post was rife with teh suck. First of all, very little of it was even remotely interesting, and second I was fairly buzzed when I wrote it. That's a bad combination. Of the events listed only the cosmic balancing act of Duke's visit(yay!) and the car's brake job(suck!) were pertinent. The rest was just Newcastle inspired drivel. Pray accept my humblest apologies.
I never thought that the following words would ever escape any form of expression instigated by yours truly, but it must be said that I actually miss George Bush. Now don't go calling the guys in white coats just yet. What I mean is that politics has/have(I never know if 'politics' is a singular or plural noun) gone back to normal. And in this case normal = boring. Barak Obama seems to be doing his best to get the nation, and by extension the world, back on track economically, but the details of said efforts are about as exciting as a date with Alan Greenspan. Even the partisan bickering between the 'we won't agree to anything that the Democrats come up with' Republicans and the rest of the non-brain dead people in Congress isnt' very exciting. It's just the typical Neocon mating cry, "Cut Taxes!" Well, since W's final fuck you to the Marius household was a higher tax bill than any I've paid before, I'm not too sympathetic with those who feel the tax burden on the wealthy is too high.
WAKE UP!!!!!! I'm sorry, I should know better than to go off on an economic tear. I promise I won't put you to sleep again. This will, hopefully, be a good week. Thursday the missus and I will be going to see Spamalot! with, according to the billboards, Richard Chamberlain as King Arthur. Hopefully he'll rock the part(although being as it's a Thursday matinee I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an understudy). I will, of course, give you lovely folks a full report after.
Ok, that's all for now. May this first week of March be a groovy and productive one, unless you actually have time off, then may it be groovy and restful. In any case take care, y'all. :-)
Sunday, March 01, 2009
It's been a good weekend. It didn't start off that way. I was supposed to go away to an SCA event Saturday morning to witness the stepping down of one of my dearest friends from the position of baron of the Gainesville chapter, and the investiture of another one of my dearest friends into that self-same position. And I was going to do some fighting. But I fear I may have talked about this venture within earshot of my car, and she decided that she did not feel like driving three hours out into the wilds of North Central Florida. Instead she informed me on Friday afternoon, in no uncertain terms, that unless a brake job were performed immediately we would not be going anywhere. So, no event. But Friday night Duke, yet another of my oldest and dearest friends(I am blessed with an abundance of such people in my life)was in the area, so he came over and we drank beer, talked comic books and Star Trek, then he treated me to dinner. Much beer was consumed, and a bit was recorded for the podcast(out on Wednesday). I have to confess that my neurosis about interacting with people grows annoying. I found myself trying to come up with reasons to postpone or cancel the get-together, but it was such a comfortable and fun evening I'm glad I did not. Why am I trying to become a hermit?
Saturday found me cracking open my computer to hook up my old hard drive so I could retrieve the pictures that languished there, and then reformat it in preparation for its new home in Frankenputer. The only snag in the plan is that the copy of Windows Vista Basic I ordered has gone on back order. But on the plus side, Targon has a LCD monitor for me. I just need to find a time to get back down to West Palm. Hopefully during Spring Break I can take a couple of days to go down there. Then we went to CiCi's Pizza. The COA likes it there, and it is all you can eat, but the offerings last night were mediocre at best. But it was filling. Also Duke loaned us his copy of Watchmen, so I'll have it read before the movie comes out later this year.
Today was laundry, and beer day. And blogging day. And that's about it. What are you doing today?
Marius the uninteresting.