Soon To Be Classics

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The New TV Season

I'm a bad Tivo'er.

The new TV season is here and it dawned on me yesterday that I haven't set my Tivo for any new programs. The 2005-2006 season seems to be tailor-made for my TV tastes. There's lots of aliens, monsters, spy-stuff, etc. But I'm just not sold on any of it and there's so many that now they're blurring together. What excited me most is catching the premieres of shows that I started watching last year, like Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Boston Legal, etc.

I have caught a few things or have some thoughts on a couple of shows.

Commander In Chief - Thanks to a well-timed heart attack, we have a new President, Geena Davis. This looks very West Wing and not that interesting. Also, is it just me, or does Geena Davis look very much like Jack Nickelson as the Joker?? If you have it Tivo'd, watch the ending again and tell me I'm wrong.

Invasion - A hurricane disguises the arrival of an alien force. And guess what, to avoid special effects shots, they take human form. The first episode was so dull that I actually fell asleep. It didn't fill me with confidence to see that Shaun Cassidy wrote this. This looks like nothing new so I won't be catching the second episode.

Night Stalker - I actually didn't watch this because the reviews were so horrible. Did the producers actually watch the original and understand WHY it was good?

Surface - Lake Bell, the female star of this show, was such a non-entity on last season's Boston Legal that she was ejected pretty quick. Surface was pretty lame and I don't see Bell carrying this on her shoulders.

My Name Is Earl - I saw a little of the first show and it was funny, but not as much as the reviews led me to believe. Maybe this will just take a few episodes to catch its stride.

So, what is everyone watching? What new shows are worth it?? I know a lot of you that read this blog are TV fans so I'll be interested to see what I should watch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sucks To Be A Giant Squid

In case you're not keeping up on what's happening with the elusive giant squid, let me update you.

They finally managed to snap a picture of a 26 foot long beastie off of New Zealand. Jules Verne obviously had it dead-on, as the pictures revealed what had long been described in 19th century literature.

But, the lesson here is not one of literary accuracy, but rather of the tenacity and cleverness of marine bioligists. Observe the following exerpt:

In 2003, New Zealand marine biologists laid a sex trap.

They ground up some squid gonads, believing that the scent would drive male giant squids wild as the creatures migrated through New Zealand waters.

The hope was that a camera would squirt out the pureed genitals and a passing squid, driven into a sexual frenzy, would then mate with the lens -- a project that, some may be relieved to hear, never came to fruition.


For the full article, you can read it here if you still wish.

Giant Squids

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It's Springtime for Hitler

Originally uploaded by Mkae.
I soooooo can't wait for this one:

The Producers

It Was A Different World

I noticed something today that I somehow missed.

I had to put in a rush application for a passport, as I'll be travelling to Germany next month for work. The trip is a little last minute and having legal paperwork to get in and out of the country is somewhat important.

Anyway, in the various questions that you have to answer, is a lot of questions about your parents. I got to the questions about my parents birthplace and I had to stop and think. I really couldn't remember where they were born. I asked my mom where she was born:

"Kansas City, MO"

Where was Dad born?

"Kansas City, MO"

Then I got to my birthplace.

"Kansas City, MO"

I actually stopped and stared at this for a moment. My mom, my dad, and I were all born in the same city and state. Does that even happen anymore? I have pulled my family all over the country chasing my career that everyone has a different state of origin. They kept their roots, long enough for four of us kids to be born in the same place as themselves. I don't know why this struck me, but it offered me a sense of home that I hadn't really felt before. I really don't know much about Kansas City except that's where most of the few family I have left is. Kansas City is suddenly a much more important city to me than it ever was.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Saluting the King

Originally uploaded by Mkae.
I watched a little of the Emmy's last night. I don't know why, but I suppose it's akin to the car wreck on the side of the road. You have to slow down to see what the deceased was wearing.

Despite the idiotic, scripted banter, the lame attempts at cheap applause Ellen DeGeneress (sp?) illicited by mentioning Hurricane Katrina when the previous joke went flat, and the ridiculous pretentiousness of Eva Longoria becoming the new Susan Lucci, there was a moment that really moved me.

David Letterman walked out on stage and made a pretty lame joke about the "Governor's Ball". It must have been an inside joke. I then expected to hear an "Uma/Oprah" joke and figured he was about to introduce someone. He did, and didn't.

He went into an obviously scripted but very heartfelt tribute to Johnny Carson. The man that started him and countless comedians in show buisness. What really got me was not what he said, but how he was saying it. Dave was very focused and very tight. I really got the impression that he was struggling to keep it together. Without question, David Letterman is a man that, like the 50 million people that watch the final Tonight Show (and I was one of them) loved Johnny Carson.

Johnny Carson passed away earlier this year. He'd barely been seen once he left TV and it had only been recently announced that he had been secretely writing jokes for Dave. I knew there was a reason I watch Letterman over Leno.

So, kudos to the Emmy's for something more uplifting than the hundreds of pairs of fake breasts in the audience. I turned the show off after that point, because I knew it wouldn't get any better.

Keep Yer Hands Off Me Booty, Arrrr...

Originally uploaded by Mkae.
Today is "Talk Like A Pirate Day".

I'm not sure why this is significant, except for the fact that "grass roots marketing" actually does work sometimes.

The point is to say all the things you'd love to if you were a pirate. Call your boss "Cap'n". Call your mate "matey". Order your kids to "walk the plank". Say "Arrrr" a lot.

Here's the website, in case you have questions.

Talk Like A Pirate Day

In case you want an official Pirate name, we got that too.

Your Pirate Name

And now, I'm off to put a steak on my eye for "tellin' the wench to get me another swig o' ale".

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Are There Ewoks In Hell, George?

Originally uploaded by Mkae.
For those of you who are still under the misguided notion that the last 4 Star Wars movies intended to sell any sort of story, here's the latest proof that George Lucas is far less interested in telling a compelling story and more interested in selling toys.

This is the Holiday Exclusive Edtion of Darth Vader. Of course, Darth Vader is one really bad dude, but hey, it's Christmas, right?

As a kid, I had a Darth Vader toy. A couple as a matter of fact. Yes, he killed lots of people, but he was a scary villian in a fantasy movie. He mostly killed clueless Rebel Troopers, entire planets whose populace we conveniently never saw and cut Luke's hand off. Then, when unmasked, we learned he was really Uncle Fester.

Then, in episode III, the sixth movie (that still makes my head hurt) he became a child killer. It doesn't matter that they didn't technically show it, but he did. The last thing you see is a child looking to him for help and he turns his spooky red eyes on them.

And then slays them.

This affects you when you're a parent. It was an entirely unnecessary scene. I would have preferred to see any number of rubber suited aliens splayed open to the thought that he now murdered children in cold blood. Did that make him an even badder, bad guy. Sure. Was it necessary, not really. It was a desperate inclusion by a weak storyteller.

And now, we have the Holiday Edition of the galaxy's most popular child murderer. I'm sure this will be folled by Halloween versions, Easter versions, and of course Father's Day Vader. Nothing says "I love you Dad!" like having your hand cut off.

If you don't believe that Lucas makes movies just to sell toys, you're kidding yourself.

Sooner or later, Lucas will run out of ideas for action figures. On that day, I wouldn't doubt that we'll see the "Slain Youngling" action figure.

So let me just say "Thank You George" for another ridiculous raping of what used to be a character I enjoyed as a kid.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How The World Is Trying To Kill You

Originally uploaded by Mkae.
There are many fun things to do when you move to a new area. New malls, new roads, new restaurants, that sort of thing.

But there's nothing truly more exciting than learning the ways this new area will kill you.

When I moved my family to Virginia Beach, one of my first questions involved hurricanes. I've been through (literally) dozens of tornadoes living in the midwest but never a hurricane. "Never happens here", they said. Then Hurricane Isabell hit a few months later. I remembered that person while sitting with my pregnant wife in a Red Cross shelter.

So after moving to the Seattle area, I again wondered "what will kill me here"?

- Earthquakes - Check. A lot of people here talk about "the big one" but apparantly they're referring to the 54oz latte at Starbucks.

- Floods - Possible. But I live on the side of a mountain of some sort and am several hundred feet up in elevation and the ocean does seem to be a ways away.

- Bear attacks. Yep. They have bears here. Some guy just got a scalp transplant after having a run-in with Smokey.

- Rock slides?? This one I didn't expect. Over the weekend, three women were driving down I-90 (a road I used to take in Ohio to go to Cedar Point amusment park) when a giant slab of granite the size of...well...a giant slab of granite, slid down the mountainside and crushed them.

They quickly called in engineers to analyze the site. Traffic was backed up for about 14 hours. The real danger of which meant 13.75 hours for these people without their Starbucks fix.

The engineers finally deemed the site safe and the road was reopened. The NEXT DAY, in the SAME SPOT, another sheet of granite the size of...well...a slightly smaller sheet, slid down the mountainside and crushed a squirrel who put too much faith in engineers.

The last thing I think about while driving to work is the earth cracking below me or rocks raining down on me. I guess it's time to start.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No more coconut cream pies

Originally uploaded by Mkae.
It was really kind of a shock today to learn that Bob Denver, who will FOREVER be known as "Gilligan" from the 60's sitcom Gilligan's Island passed away at the age of 70.

I have to admit, that I really did like the show when I was a kid. Although I haven't seen it in years, I can still vividly remember a number of the plots, gags, and routines from the entire cast.

The ensemble was wonderful with everyone filling very well-defined roles. It wasn't meant to be great art, and certainly couldn't be construed as even remotely plausible (except on Thermia - 5 pts.) but it did fill a role on tv and is still one of the most successful syndicated shows in history. The TV critics will tell you it's garbage (at least, once the homages to Bob Denver are done) but it remains a fond memory of growing up.

By the way, in case you didn't know interesting trivia like the skipper's real first name (Jonas) or Mary Ann's original name (Bunny), check out this link here:

Legal tales from Gilligan's Island

So goodbye Gilligan. In the end, despite all your bumbling, it was you who got everyone rescued when you tried to barbecue on a raft made of reed and bamboo.

Good night little buddy.

The view doesn't suck

Mt Rainier
Originally uploaded by Mkae.
This was taken of Mt. Rainier from a parking lot about 1 mile from my house. Mt. Rainier is an active volcano that's 14,400 feet high.

The power lines next to it are 30,000 feet high.