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August 2003 Archives

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August 31

For today's media event, I watched the DVD that accompanied Scarlett's Walk by Tori Amos. There were videos for "Gold Dust" and "A Sorta Fairytale" and a screensaver-style sequence of Polaroids for "Taxi Ride". The two videos were indistinguishable from each other with no apparent connection to the lyrics. The images consisted of Tori among various heartland cliches-railroads, pickups, dirt roads, empty flat landscapes. They wouldn't win any MTV Awards, but I assume this is the sort of effort put forth by the music companies to encourage you to buy the CD instead of downloading an MP3.

August 30

Had dinner at Slade's American Grill in Bethesda. Miranda and I had the simple stuff - cheeseburger and mac and cheese. Whitlock had the fancy sea bass, pan fried.

August 29

The MI-5 episode, #4 in the series featured Anthony Stewart Head as legendary spy Peter Salter. The lower-level operatives speak of him in hushed tones as if he actually helped saved the world from demons several times. Harry seems to be running him without anyone else's knowledge to infiltrate a cell of anarcho-terrorists.

Salter has also fallen in love with one of the radical anarchists. We also discover Tessa's been running a phantom agent and pocketing the money supposedly used to pay him off. Most of the episode is spent trying to figure out which side Salter is really on.

After capture, Salter incapacitates Tom and hangs himself in the men's room. Although the anarcho-terrorists are eventually captured, Salter has disrupted Bush's trip to Britain by planting a virus in the air traffic control's computers.

August 28

Watched Hitler: The Rise of Evil. Some feared the production would humanize Hitler. Whitlock agrees with that term, although I prefer saying that Robert Carlyle made Hitler real. By no means is he sympathetic, but the evil takes believable dimension. After all, this person actually existed unlike Hannibal Lecter or Darth Vader. He could be living in your neighborhood. Certainly, the industrialists who supported him thought they were getting somebody like them.

I can't speak for the accuracy of the production, but I'm not an expert in this part of history. I did notice that Ernst Rohm's time in Bolivia was glossed over.

Robert Carlyle's portrayal of Hitler was one of the best performances I've ever seen. It's a shame he's didn't get an Emmy nomination. Here are the guys who got nominated ahead of him. I didn't see any of them, but the Stage Manager from Our Town, for which Paul Newman got nominated, is rarely the capstone of an acting career.

The entire production got an Emmy nomination as well as Peter O'Toole who played Hindenburg. This was a classic name-recognition nomination. O'Toole was only on screen for a few minutes. If I could nominate a supporting actor from the mini-series, it would be Peter Stormare who played Ernst Rohm.

August 27

Scott Edelman has some other SF suggestions for the Governor of California.

August 26

Went up to Frederick Nissan nee Jenkins Motors to get my driver's side window fixed. It wouldn't go back up. They repaired the "window regulator" for no charge because it was still covered by the warranty.

August 25

Thanks to Teresa Nielsen Hayden for Find a Neighborhood. The predominant marketing group in my neighborhood is described as Upward Bound who tend to do the following: ...own pagers/beepers, ... watch Murphy Brown.

Unfortunately, Murphy Brown has succumbed to Allison LaPlaca while pagers and beepers have given way to cellphones.

Another shock. Sunderland defeated Elton John's team for their second win in a row. They're now in sixth place which is the final position for the promotion playoffs. That leaves DC United with the only loss in four games over weekend. They looked lackluster in losing 1-0 to San Jose, but remain 4 points ahead in playoff position.

Watched the Monk 2nd season closer "Mr. Monk and the 12th Man". Monk manages to connect a series of bizarre murders through sequential ten-dollar bills used. At first he thinks they might be connected to an insurance salesman, so Monk stakes out his house. Unfortunately, he fails to stop a killing of the salesman.

Then Monk realizes they must be a jury and the surviving member of that jury is found. Though the last juror is suspected of the murders, Monk turns his attention of the owner of a house involved in that jury's case. The homeowner was played by former Minnesota Viking Ed Marinaro. A worker was injured at Big Ed's house and sued, although the insurance company paid all damages. The jury had visited the accident site and the currently surviving one wandered off to find that Big Ed had offed his wife and kept her in a freezer. Taking pictures and a finger, this juror, a compulsive gambler, anonymously blackmailed Big Ed. When the demands for money got too big, the killing started.

The B-plot involved Sharona dating the deputy mayor. Suddenly everyone kissed up to her. The relationship breaks up when Sharona realizes he doesn't take her seriously as a person.

The plot failed to connect some of the dots. You had to assume that Big Ed sent his extortion payments in anonymous fashion or else he would know who is blackmailer is. However, we're never told that. Also, the story seemed to gloss over the fact that Big Ed killed 11 innocent people without a regret.

Brilliant as Monk may be, he happens onto the eleventh victim for totally spurious reasons. He decides the connection between the victims must be a jury because they are so diverse. In my experience, a jury tends towards the less intelligent that a clever attorney can sway. Finally, once Monk realizes there is a connection, the police department should have explored the possibility they might have been on a jury. That would be on the top ten of my list issues to look into.

August 24

Congratulations to the Washington Freedom for another soccer championship brought back to DC.

Miranda is now playing Fluxx with me. She beats me every now and then. I think she likes getting the food-related keepers.

August 23

We could reduce the prison population by legalizing drugs. Since this would probably increase drug abuse, either the users or the industry could be taxed to finance rehab.

I've avoided any mention of Sunderland, while suffering from the depression of their relegation. Today the Black Cats avoided the ignominy of tying an English professional record of 18 consecutive losses by actually winning. As I watched the Ravens-Indigenous Persons exhibition game, a realized how much we miss the derbies in the United States because of the sports monopolies. Despite the Cowboys fans in the area, they always seem like freaks to me.

August 22

Does it seem those who scream,"Get a life!" make a comfortable living financed by people with no lives? Sports reporters and other sports media personalities use the phrase, and usually direct it at fans. The targets of their scorn are interested in something the sportsguy finds either trivial, or more likely, don't understand. Of course, these folks are usually paid large amounts of money because people who have no lives watch them, listen to them, or read them.

William Shatner in the classic Saturday Night Live sketch represents the entertainment get-a-life. Certainly, one must draw the line short of stalking and I find intimate details of my favorite actors to be boring. Sure it's nice to know when Sarah Michelle Gellar gets married, but I don't really want to know about her dress. So those who enjoyed the schadenfreude of Gigli probably followed the lives of Ben and J-Lo just a little too closely. Still, in that same SNL sketch, Shatner came to his senses after seeing his contract, a realization that his fans keep him in horses.

On the logo boards I frequent, the Native American nickname debate crops up every few months. Inevitably, someone opposed to any name change accuses the protesters of having no lives. Then one must realize that anyone who posts to a sports logos board has no business telling someone else they have no life.

Which is a circuitous way of getting to this discussion, which challenges the forum to design the sweaters for the Tuvalu National Hockey team. People with no lives are what make the web enjoyable.

Watched the Peacemakers episode "29 Seconds". It's a typical "innocent person sentenced to death" story. An obvious element of tension is added by a hydraulic gallows that give Marshal Stone extra time to ride into town with evidence clearing the sentenced man. Two persons seemed to be opposed to the death penalty which seemed to be two more than there would have been in Colorado in the 1880s.

A minor nitpick on a demonstration of the gallows early in the episode where the hanged dummy is decapitated. The condemned gentleman suddenly panics, expect the same thing to happen to him. I don't think a human could be jerked quickly enough for that to happen.

A bigger problem was Peter O'Meara's English accent. Not only did it mostly disappear, but it sometimes reappeared at random. Part of the charm of the show is hearing an English accent in a Western, but having it randomly fade out was a disappointing sloppiness.

August 21

Must have been a hot tip.

To the question from Barry Zito Forever, "What was the best A's game you ever went to?" the answer is May 18, 1986. Tony Phillips hit for the cycle. In the top of the 2nd, Dusty Baker on third, Mike Davis on second, nobody out, Alfredo Griffin grounds to Eddie Murray. Storm Davis tries to cover first, but his foot misses the bag and he's eventually charged with an error. He argues with the umpire. Mike Davis attempts to follow Dusty home by heading for the plate himself during the argument. The home plate umpire has called time and sends Mike Davis back to third. Earl Weaver comes out to help Storm argue. Tony LaRussa comes out to argue himself. It's the only time I remember two managers arguing two different calls on the same play.

Through Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Timothy Burke has a weird view of fandom, having been seduced by the dark side AKA the Wiggles. At this age, Miranda and her friends no longer like Barney, so they sing songs wishing an unpleasant demise for the big purple one. She asked if knew songs like that from my childhood. So I whipped up something extemporaneously about the lameness of the Wiggles. She hadn't figured out that they were kids themselves when I was a kid.

August 20

Chris Barylick has an etiquette question.

August 19

Last night, during the Angels-White Sox game, Mike Scioscia showed no fear of Frank Thomas when he pitched to him in the bottom of the 9th, one out, a runner on third and the score tied. Also, I've rarely seen an starter still on the mound, as Jarrod Washburn was, in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. Still, the second gopher ball to Thomas was only Washburn's 101st pitch.

August 18

Compelling case made by Stefan Szymanski and Stephen F. Ross for promotion and relegation as a preferred system to the current closed system in North America. You'll need Acrobat, but you can skip the math because the conclusions are also spelled out in text.

What they don't discuss is whether there'd be time for a cross-tier cup, like England's F.A. Cup. I think such a tournament would be necessary to give even lower division teams a target and a national stage. Who gets most excited about March Madness? The schools from the smaller conferences who look for that first round upset.

It's not quite Hollywood Squares, Mike and Dwight, but the Game Show Network has figured out the California gubernatorial recall and election is right up their alley.

August 17

Watched the MI-5 episode "Office Politics". Zoe is inside the Turkish consulate performing maintenance on their bugs when Kurds take the occupants hostage. When her unusual possessions are discovered, she claims to be an MI-6 agent.

The Kurds are helped by a group of Brits including someone named Johnny Marks. He was an operative believed to have died 15 years ago. The hostage crisis is just cover for him stealing codes for the agency's special bank. Marks steals £15 million, which MI-5 let him get away with when he doesn't reveal the names of agents he also accessed. Turns out he was a former lover of Tessa.

Nobody dies, even at the Turkish embassy.

August 16

Taped episodes 15 and 16 of Silver Screen Test. James Dinan was one of the contestants. It went well considering I had three new people and a small crew. Thanks to Jimmy Albert, Yen-Ming Chen, Lorena Escobar, Alyyssa Newart, Victor Soto and Corey Wallace.

Miranda and Whitlock were out at a birthday party when I got home. I thought I'd fall asleep while watching the Freedom playoff game. Turns out I was too wired and stayed awake anyway.

Watched the Monk epsiode "Mr. Monk Meets the Playboy". Gary Cole plays Dexter, somebody obviously modeled on Hef. His business manager Eric tells him he must shut down his magazine. The next day, Eric is choked to death by a barbell falling on him.

Visiting the crime scene, Monk can't figure out exactly what's wrong, although the clock is 40 minutes off. This is probably where I solved it. Dexter was in the apartment below with a huge electromagnet that brought the barbell down.

Most of the program was a jiggle show with Monk scandalized at every turn. Dexter threatens Monk off the case with blackmail pictures of Sharona back when she was 19. From the hints, I'm guessing hardcore sex was involved because mere nude pictures just don't seem scandalous enough.

Danny Bonaduce makes a cameo. Dexter takes Danny's car to commit the crime.

August 15

I put up the non-buzzer set for Silver Screen Test with Spike Bowden and Jimmy Albert. The studio has a shortage of 500 watt lamps which were replaced with softboxes.

August 14

Tomorrow's Knossos pick is The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. I read the author's preferred version with a middle section Ben Bova rejected for Analog. An award winner and seminal work, it comments on the Vietnam War using the powersuit trappings of Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

On one level it savagely attacks every level of war - the indifference of the political leaders, the incompetence of the military leaders and the brutality of the soldiers in the field. There wasn't any discussion of the unit cohesion that motivates infantry I've read of elsewhere. Instead, the grunts have hypnotic suggestions implanted that turn them into killing machines. The primary motivation for William Mandella is his love for Marygay Potter.

Joe's website says that the Sci-Fi Channel will present it as a mini-series next year. I could picture the novel as a two hour feature film with emphasis on the action and romance.

Overall, I found the book just a little bit below perfect because it was more an intellectual exercise than an emotional experience. The exciting intellectual works make your mind function in ways it never thought before. Maybe it's because I've heard these arguments in the last thirty years and Haldeman did not surprise me.

Nevertheless, The Forever War is competently written with only a few parts displaying clunky Analog exposition. It's an important work that had a huge impact when published 30 years ago.

I met Joe and his wife Gay at the 1983 Worldcon in Baltimore. He reprised his role from a decade before as one of the Discovery astronauts in 2001: A Space Opera. I played a Russian scientist, an American scientist and a space slab.

August 13

Finished a slim volume entitled The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch) by Carroll Spinney. It's a light recollection of his experiences inside the big yellow puppet and underneath the trash can operating Oscar the Grouch. I enjoyed reading some of the origin stories.

Fanatics of the Street know that Oscar was originally orange. What I didn't know was that Jim Henson unilaterally decided to make him green. The verdant Oscar made his debut on The Flip Wilson Show, much to the dismay of Children's Television Workshop executives. Oscar later explained that he vacationed in a very damp swamp that turned him green overnight.

Buy The Wisdom of Big Bird if you're a Muppet fan, but otherwise it's a slim book for the hardcover price.

August 12

This morning's frustration came courtesy of workers whose job it was to bolt hutches to desks. A team of four came to my office, pulled the hutch and return from the wall. One of them bolted the hutch within five minutes. While this happened, I visited with co-workers.

When I returned, my hutch was bolted, but my desk was away from the wall, leaving my computer, phone and work materials surrounded by walls, shelves and the desk. They only way to get back there was to climb over my desk. The workers took over an hour an a half to come back, while I worked, physically trapped in my office. Instead of putting desks back immediately after bolting them, they bolted eveybody's desk on three floors before restoring the furniture arrangement.

August 11

Mary Icon...

You are BRUCE! Don't're not a bad guy! You've just got this one bad habit that you're trying to darndest to break, and you should be congratulated on your efforts. You're really a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. Your weakness is that you snap at the slightest temptation...Well, good luck!
What Finding Nemo Character are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

August 10

Bea, Greg, Victoria and Ian came over late to bring Dakilla and Sonia over to see the house. Dakilla asked if a nearby storm water management pond was a natural lake. Of course we had to tell him that Maryland has no natural lakes.

Ian, Miranda and Victoria
Happy cousins
August 9

Went to my sister's house where she was hosting a lunch in honor my aunt and uncle. Dakilla and Sonia are in town for a national convention of folks from her home province of Marinduque. They live in San Francisco and it's a whirlwind trip for them. Dakilla and Sonia arrived last night and are leaving Monday night. So they're going to attempt to visit everyone they know in Washington in less than four days. I left Miranda playing with her cousins.

Finally saw the conclusion of Napoleon. It's probably a more sympathetic portrayal than most, but at the end you realize he is telling it to a young British girl on St. Helena.

I can't vouch for the accuracy. I was never interested in that period of history, but I did note the absence of Borodino. I proposed a song parody title to a Napoleon fanatic I knew in high school,"Don't Cry for Me, Borodino".

John Malkovich played Talleyrand with an impossible-to-decipher accent. Only Malkovich can pull it off. Whitlock was disappointed in the misuse of aging hunk Julian Sands as Metternich. She feels he easily could have done Talleyrand better.

Apparently some French fans were offended that Christian Clavier, a well-known comic actor, portrayed the Little Corporal. They liken it to Jerry Lewis playing George Washington. While I couldn't imagine Jerry as a charismatic military leader, I could see him as an older villain - a gangster, an executive, or a politician. Watch The King of Comedy and see if you don't agree.

Also watched the Monk epsiode "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect". A woman is killed by a mailbomb. She and her brothers were suing each other over their father's will. One brother is a prime suspect for the police, but Monk believes the more fastidious brother did it. Unfortunately, that guy is in a coma after a car accident Stottlemeyer and Disher witnessed a few months earlier.

Because the audience must believe that Monk is not wrong, we have to accept that the guy in the coma mailed the bomb without any accomplices. It turns out he glued the bombs to the inside of mailboxes, in a blind spot the postmen miss. The glue would deteriorate after a few months and the package would drop in with the rest of the mail for delivery. The bomber taunted Stottlemeyer and Disher earlier, hoping merely to be in prison when the bombs went off. Instead, he was in a coma for an even better alibi.

In the B-plot, Sharona's husband is back in town, asking her and Benjy to move back to New Jersey with him. She falls for it until she finds out he's only reconciling to get back in the good graces of his rich uncle. In the C-plot, Monk's psychiatrist in on vacation and he's forced to talk to the suspect in the coma instead.

August 8

Inspired by Gut Rumbles, I give you my Twenty Favorite Comedic Entities

Douglas Adams. Not a stand-up comedian or an actor, just a great describer of the human condition through the medium of space aliens.
Dan Akyroyd. Probably doesn't have quite the rabid fan following of the other SNLers because you can't identify a single character with him.
Best Brains. Can't single out anybody. The yelling-at-the-screen parts stayed pretty consistent throughout the run. I could credit Mike Nelson alone, but this was pretty much a team effort.
Mel Brooks. For the 2,000 Year Old Man and the 1970s movies. He couldn't learn to pick up the pace later on but Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights still made me laugh.
Johnny Carson. Had great writers. An effective talk show host of his ilk has to be less interesting than his guests. Look at the others of his generation: Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin...did these guys have any personality? But when you watched the audience laughing at the jokes of this non-descript Nebraskan (that's superfluous isn't it?), you thought maybe you could be funny, too.
Margaret Cho. Totally wasted on her sitcom.
Julia Duffy. Allison Sugarbaker, Stephanie Vanderkellen, Princess Ariel. How she could keep you watching characters you wouldn't want to be in the same room with in real life?
Ben Edlund. After creating The Tick, he cements his geek cred by writing for Angel and Firefly.
Jim Henson and Co. Mostly for the Muppet Show and Dinosaurs! but also for Sesame Street and Bear in the Big Blue House.
Jan Hooks. For the Sweeney Sisters and Kitty Dukakis.
Gary Larson. The bulletin boards and office doors of a million scientists can't be all wrong.
Groucho Marx. The least I could do for the funniest guy who shares my birthday. I personally find You Bet Your Life to be funnier than his movies.
Mike Myers. Like fellow Canadian Dan Akyroyd, can also do serious stuff. He still hasn't made movies of my favorite Saturday Night Live characters: Dieter and Lothar of the Hill People.
Bob Newhart. Carved an entire career out of one half of a conversation. Comedy has gotten so coarse of late, there's no one in the minors to replace him.
Greg Proops. Gotta give props to the dog and the only College Bowler on the list. He's also pretty much my only connection to Hollywood in any Kevin Bacon list.
Richard Pryor. Watch his concert films. Watch him describe his heart attack. Don't tell me you don't feel chest pains yourself.
Monty Python. There's no way I could single out an individual. Maybe Terry Jones made me laugh the least.
Lore Fitzgerald Sjoberg. Best waste of time on the Internet is reading his ratings.
Robin Williams. The stand-up, not so much the actor. Probably best when he'll finds some incredibly manic way of embarassing the interviewer.
David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. The first rule of spoof comedy - never give the audience a chance to breathe.

And because twenty is not enough five more Honorable Mention.

Doctor Demento. Everytime I considered Weird Al for this list I kept thinking that he's only marginally funnier than me. The Good Doctor, though, introduced me to Al, Tom Lehrer, and a whole host of musical funnypeople.
Matt Groening. More a Life in Hell than a Simpsons fan. There was the Woman from Mars who says,"This interpretative dance will explain how I feel about our relationship."
National Lampoon. The regional theater for Saturday Night Live. This is for both their printed and audio material.
Rondell Sheridan. Favorite bit was renting a stroller in a mall without a kid, then walking around with a forlorn face moaning,"Jimmy?"
Jon Stewart. Where everyone should get their news from.

August 7

This bit from an interview with Lisa Guerrero:

Q: You and Scott [Erickson], Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher - what is it with older women and younger men?

A: Scott's not that much younger. There's only three and a half years difference with us. But isn't that great? That's the way it should be. Seems very logical to me, and I'll leave it at that.

Amazing that a three and a half year difference still raises an eyebrow when the woman is older. If the genders were reversed, it wouldn't even begin to raise an eyebrow. If I were Lisa, I'd be more concerned with Scott Erickson's domestic violence history.

August 6

From Tapped:

Tapped has long thought that Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) would be a better candidate if he'd stop droning sonorously and just run hard on his own record. So Tapped was intrigued to read over the weekend that Lieberman had decided to become the anti-Dean. Certainly, it's a great role for some candidate to take, especially in a race where everyone is running in ideological drag. After all, Dean is a moderate running as a liberal; Kerry is a liberal running as a moderate; Edwards is a conservative (for a Democrat) running as a moderate; and Lieberman is a moderate running as a conservative.

Reminds me of "The Powerpuff Girls Best Rainy Day Episode Ever" when the girls stay inside to play each other. Also, there was the party when we dressed up as other people we knew. I dressed up as John Cooper, right down to borrowing his clothes. He was out of town or busy so he didn't make the party.

August 5

I'd heard for a few weeks that the Post would release a new tabloid called The Express that would be free and directed at younger readers. I expected a staid version of the City Paper. I actually got a look at today's issue.

If you can imagine a publication even less substantial than USA Today, Express is it. It's basically the top stories clipped down to a few paragraphs. Other than the length and size, there's nothing irreverent you might expect to find in a "younger" publication. The City Paper has already released Expresso. Kinda scary when something only two days old is already being parodied.

August 4

Our office building is also an alternate gallery space for Zenith Gallery. When we moved in, the exhibition consisted of colored rubbings of manhole covers. The current exhibition is the Second Annual Dog Days of Summer (and Cats, Too).

The artwork varies in media, though most of them are paintings and photographs. All contain dogs and/or cats. While I can appreciate the technical virtuousity in some of the works, the rest are either kitschy or just plain bad. I would put it at 25% skilled, 50% purposely humorous and 25% pretty good for a high school student. The funny stuff puts pet heads on human bodies. I was surprised not to find the dogs playing poker.

One sculpture consisted of seven dogs, each on a pie-shaped segment saluting a globe in the center. A candle stood behind dog. Each segment had a name: Anderson, Brown, Chawla, Clark, Husband, McCool, Ramon. My quizbowl readers will probably have figured out by now the meaning of the sculpture.

I leave you with a work from the Zenith Gallery. Craig Barker can tell you why this is called "Michigan".

August 3

Picked up Miranda and drove by a house we almost bought in 1993. The trees have grown much bigger and the units seem much closer together. Miranda thought it was cool that the house number was 2.

August 2

Miranda went with her grandparents and cousins out to Charles County to attend a birthday party and spend time with kids. She spends the night at her Lolo and Lola's. Whitlock went to Kerry's bridal shower. I cleaned up the house.

Whitlock and I watched the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Theatre". Monk and Sharona watch her sister Gail in a play headed for Broadway. Gail stabs an actor in the play and it appears she killed him with a real knife instead of the prop knife.

Suspicion immediately falls on her understudy, Jenna. It turns out Jenna contrived to have the victim hired. She poisoned the apple he must eat during the scene with peanut oil, which he is allergic to. The "doctor in the house" is really Jenna's father who does the actually killing when no one is looking. I wondered why there was no blood in the stabbing, but it also left the nitpick of how a retractable knife could stay stuck in the victim's chest.

In attempting to recreate the murder, Monk remembers the scene with perfect accuracy. The director watches and immediately hires him to fill in. This provides a foil for Monk's OCD as Jenna discovers he's onto her.

Another funny scene is when Monk interrogates Jenna by registering for a Speed Dating event. She doesn't yet know who he is at this point. While waiting for her to come around to him, Monk has some funny scenes with women he's not interested in in the slightest.

Gave a shot to the MI-5 episode "Risk". The show is called Spooks over in Britain. The main thread concerns a racist industrialist who incites riots and is backing a specific MP as the movement's human face. MI-5 try to bug his home, but fail. Instead they attempt recruitment of his battered wife. The operation results in the death of an operative when their cover is blown. The racist is apparently killed later on by a government assassin in a tunnel. The B-plot involved immigration smugglers that turned out to be funded by the same racist.

It's a little intense for us. I was a bit taken aback that the government would put a hit on the bad guy, rather than take him to trial.

Went on to watch Peacemakers. This is the show described as CSI in the Old West. The founder of the city of Silver City, Colorado is found murdered and the Pinkertons send an Englishman well-versed in the newest forensic techniques to aid in the investigation. The murder has to do with land the man promised to miners and to his Chinese mistress.

Tom Berenger stars as Marshal Jared Stone, a pipe-smoking Civil War veteran cut pretty much from the same cloth as previous frontier law enforcers. Peter O'Meara is Larimer Finch, the English detective that for some reason remains in Silver City despite orders from the Pinkertons to investigate another case. Amy Carlson plays Katie Owen, the mortician and coroner. Add to this Mayor Smith, Luci the saloon owner and madam, Chipper the deputy, Twyla the newspaper woman and Isaac the "Black guy", you've got a sizable ensemble cast.

I find it admirable that, although the women are attractive, they didn't just take starlets and stuff them into petticoats and corsets. As beautiful as Hudson Leick is, I just don't believe any period of history produced a woman who looked like Callisto, except for the one that put Xena on television. The women on Peacemakers don't really look like authentic frontier matrons, but at least it's not Old West costume night at the Playboy Mansion.

August 1

Matt Bruce has a link to someone who thought Gene Wolfe was too harsh at an Odyssey workshop. I have three views on Gene. One is that I've read his work and find him vastly overrated. Some of his stories I've liked and he likes to come up with archaic words nobody's used in a millennium. On the other hand, The Book of the New Sun, a series that frequently gets listed among the field's seminal works, I find uncomprehensible. It's readable from word-to-word and scene-to-scene, but as a whole, it just gets a big HUH from me. Imagine try to make sense of a series of non-sequitors. Then again, I'm in a very small minority here.

On the other hand, on a personal level, I've found him a very nice guy, much nicer than many science fiction and fantasy writers. He happily autographed my copy of the story,"The Last Thrilling Wonder Story" which had the character of Brick Bradford. On the third hand, Gene Wolfe associates with individuals I don't like, which is my problem, not his.

Of greater importance is that Michigan State can no longer fund the Clarion Writers Workshop. This is the writing boot camp that has produced much of the field's award winners. Scott Edelman more eloquently explains why this workshop is so important.

Right now a fundraising program is being started to keep Clarion going. I'm surprised somebody with a boatload of money like, Paul Allen, who has already thrown his cash the way of the Science Fiction Experience, hasn't been approached to continue the workshop.

The Undertow...
|Victorian Fashions|
|Seneca Creek Greenway Trail|
|My First Time|
|25 Things We Know|
|Design Your Own Hell|
|Lego Escher|
|Link Dump|
|Doctor Slang is a Dying Art|
|News Hax|
|Search the Fortune 500|
|Rebel with a Cause|
|In the American Grain|
|Importance of the Center|
|Hubble Wallpaper|
|BladeZone Image Archive|
|Bush and the Saudis|
|The Sarcasm Threat|
|Internet Anagram Server|
|Subversive Cross Stitch|
|Stefan Szymanski|
|40 Lies|
|Very Mad Max|
|Babylon 5 Parallels|
|Bill Conlin Archive|
|Bill Maher's Blog|
|How Far Is It?|
|Most Emailed Photos|
|Sunderland A.F.C. Supporters Association - USA Branch|
|Earth and Moon Viewer|
|You Know You're From Hampton Roads|

|Dave Barry|
|Chris Barylick|
|Mike Burger|
|David Bykowski|
|Emil Tom Chuck|
|Jessie Connolly|
|Mark Coen|
|Jon Couture|
|Victoria Groce|
|Arianna Huffington|
|Hayden Hurst|
|Idle Words|
|Impolite Company|
|Samer Ismail|
|Doug Pappas|
|Tricia Southard|
|Julie Stalhut|
|Eric Steinhauser|
|Summary Opinions|
|TRASH Times|
|Eva Whitley|

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Last revised August 31, 2003
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